08 November 2011

Brunei held against Laos

Jason Thomas

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

10-man Brunei scuppers a 2-1 lead in the 80th minute

Laos coach praises 'fantastic' Adis Said

ADI Said lifted 10-man Brunei on his shoulders last night, scoring a brace to ensure a 2-2 stalemate against Laos and their first point of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games football competition.

A striker who is probably worth his weight in gold for the Sultanate right now, Adi the younger brother of DPMM FC hitman Shahrazen netted a 30th minute equaliser and bagged his brace in the 56th minute to give Brunei a lead their fatigued legs would surrender in the 80th minute.

Brunei was down a man in the 15th minute when centre-back Reduan Petara was show a straight red for bringing down Lamnao Singto the Laos captain who was straight through on goal after a long ball from midfield.

But with Adi leading the team's attack, and the midfield slowly rising to the fore, Brunei did not quit believing.

"I didn't think we would lose," said Adi of playing with a man down.

"The most important thing is teamwork. If one man is off, we all raise our game. Individual play is not important. We played well despite being down one player. Our only problems were our finishing and fitness.

"I could have scored three or four but I tried my best," said the 21-year-old, who had two chances to bag his hat-trick and had certain fans in the stadium calling his name whenever he touched the ball.

With Timor Leste upsetting the Philippines 2-1 in yesterday's tie at the Lebak Bulus Stadium, Brunei's draw puts them fifth in the six-team Group B. Though they are even on points with Laos and have the same goal difference, the Laotians have scored a goal more.

Only the Philippines, who suffered two straight losses, have yet to earn a point. Brunei faced Timor Leste in their first game last Saturday, losing 2-1 after initially taking the lead.

Though Laos didn't score off the free-kick when Reduan was sent off, they did take the lead three minutes later through Lamnao, who capped off a superbly swift attacking move.

Sangvone Phimmasen stole the ball off Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris in midfield and passed it to Keoviengpheth Lithideth, who then laid it off to Lamnao. He unleashed a beautiful curler to Junaidi Akim's top-left corner.

But keeping their heads up and starting to string more passes together, Brunei got back into the game and a long ball from captain Azwan Muhd Salleh found Adi who cut past his two defenders and found the net from inside the box and celebrated with his trademark back-flips.

In the second half, Mohd Hendra Azam made up for his earlier mistake by delivering the free-kick into the box which made it 2-1 with a glancing header from Adi.

The substitute goalkeeper, Junaidi, took full use of the opportunity handed to him by the shoulder sprain Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Sallehuddin picked up against Timor Leste to prove himself by keeping Brunei in the game with some key saves down the stretch.

In the end though, Brunei's tiring midfield wavered and their defenders were satisfied with simply booting the ball to safety.

A through ball to Sangvone on the left flank caught Brunei's back-line off guard, and the striker would square the ball to Sopha Saysana who netted past an open goal.

Through it all, Brunei's commitment to attacking football and their courage will be what most neutrals will take away from the match.

They face Myanmar tomorrow, who are third in the six-team Group B. Tomorrow's other game pits leaders Timor Leste against second-placed Vietnam.

After last night's stirring performance, all three points against Myanmar don't seem too much to ask.The Brunei Times

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