LEBAK BULUS (15 Nov 2011) – Brunei avoided the wooden spoon tag from Group B of the men’s football event this year when they played perhaps their best game to beat the Philippines 2-1 at the Lebak Bulus Stadium this evening.
The Sultanate side who were embarrassed 8-0 by Vietnam in their previous game were a lot more determined this time round and they certainly were a lot more aggressive.
For the Philippines they seemed a little out of sorts, no doubt perhaps due to their humiliating 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Myanmar. But that did not stop them from taking the lead on nine minutes when Joshua Beloya ran in from the left before unleashing a swerving shot to beat Awangku Omar Sallehuddin.
Brunei were quick to regroup and in the 17th minute, striker Adi Said prised open the Philippines defence where despite slipping from a cross from the right, he still managed to get up in time to shoot past two defenders to beat keeper Roland Muller at the far post.
The game then fell into a lull at the centre of the park as neither teams were able to push forward far enough in numbers. That was until with three minutes left of the first half.
Off an Adi free kick right at the edge of the Philippines box, defender Reduan Petara was quick to finish the rebound to give Brunei the lead for the first time in the game.
Brunei had a golden chance in the 55th minute to finish the game off but after picking up from a defensive lapse, the shot from Awangku Mohammad Hassan went totally off target.
The closest the Philippines came to nailing the equalizer in the second half was in the 75th minute through Jeffrey Christaens but his shot was ably blocked by Awangku Omar.
And this time round, there was no way back for the Philippines as they had done earlier against Laos as Brunei stood with everything they had to protect their lead all the way to the finish.