BRUNEI fell 2-1 to Indonesia in Group C of the 39th Under-18 Asia Schools Football Championship in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand yesterday.
The team came into the match riding on a morale-boosting 13-0 demolition of Pakistan, but failed to take anything away against their Indonesian opponents.
Brunei found the back of the net first with Mohammad Shafie Hj Mohd Efenddy, who has scored two goals in as many matches, giving the Sultanate the lead in the 20th minute.
However, rainy weather proved to be a factor that led to defensive errors, allowing the Indonesian side to score two quick goals before the end of the first half.
Indonesia's Zulkilear levelled the match in the 40th minute while Alessandro found the back of the net in the next minute to put his team in front 2-1 heading into the interval.
Brunei were pretty much in control in the second half but spurned numerous chances that saw them fall to their Southeast Asian counterparts.
The team's coach Liew Chuan Fue felt that the scoreline didn't depict their efforts in the game.
"We controlled much of the game especially in the second half and created plenty of chances. The only problem was our finishing," said Liew in a telephone interview after the match.
"We made a couple of mistakes on defence and the field was slippery due to the rain. I believe we should have won the game. We played pretty good except that the result was not in our favour," added the former national player, who captained Brunei to victory during the 1999 Malaysia Cup.
The team will face Iran today, and at least a draw will most likely see them through to the next round.
The competition features 12 teams divided into three groups of four. Group A has hosts Thailand pooled with the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam while Group B has Asian powerhouses South Korea going up against Malaysia, Singapore and Macau.
The winner and runner-up in each group will join the two best third-placed teams in the second round.
"This is going to be a difficult match. They (Iran) are going to be tougher as they have beaten Indonesia 3-0," said Liew.
"But I still believe that we have a good chance in making it into the next round and I hope that we can do it," he added.
The other match of the day saw Iran put up a good performance demolishing Pakistan 8-0.
Defending champions Thailand won the title last year after shocking hosts South Korea 2-1.
This week's competition in Ubon Ratchathani will also see the national Under-15 team in action.
The side is competing in the 6th Asian Schools Football Championships and will begin their campaign today against the hosts.
The six-team tournament has Brunei pooled in Group A with Thailand and Sri Lanka while Group B will see Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam face off.
The Brunei Times