THE Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council (MS ABDB) edged Majra FC 1-0 to move back to the summit of the DST Group Brunei Premier League I (BPL I) last night.
Arch-rivals QAF FC earlier kicked MS ABDB down to second after their 5-3 victory over Jerudong FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
But Md Hardi Hj Matassan made sure QAF FC's reign only lasted over two hours scoring the winner for the army men in the 40th minute at the Penanjong Camp in Tutong to lift MS ABDB back to the top.
Goalless for 30 minutes, BPL I defending champions QAF FC were left on the backfoot when Sufri Mohaimin beat their goalkeeper Junaidi Akim in the 31st minute.
However, Md Mardi Mirza Bujang Abdullah levelled the scores three minutes after the break, before Riwandi Wahit and Adie Arsham Muhd Salleh hit a brace each to solidify QAF FC's victory.
Late goals from Jerudong FC's Faizul Jefry and Muhd Safwan Hj Md Safri failed to trouble the champions, who triumphed 5-3 to take all three points.
Despite the goal feast, both teams got off to a slow start.
QAF FC enjoyed more possession of the ball early in the match, but were unable to make any meaningful threats on Jerudong FC's goal.
Md Hendra Azam Md Idris provided QAF FC their first real chance with a lob into the opponents' box. Md Mardi sneaked past the defenders for a one-on-one with Jerudong FC goalkeeper Md Arib Hj Umar, but the latter rushed off the posts to save before the midfielder could pull the trigger.
Next Ak Md Kamarul Ariffin Pg Ramlee delivered a cross from the left flank, but Md Hardyman Abdul Lamit was not able to direct his header goalwards.
Adie Arsham could have given his team the lead when Md Mardi's through ball sliced through the Jerudong FC defence. The forward hesitated to pounce, believing himself to be in an offside position.
Once Adie Arsham realised the linesman had kept his flag down, he rushed for the shot but was denied by goalkeeper Md Arib, who was quicker to the ball for the save.
Jerudong FC also had chances in between and the best came from Mazran Hj Md Jamin's corner kick. Amidst the cluster of players crowding QAF FC's box, Md Esmendy Brahim got on the receiving end but wasted the chance by firing over the crossbar from pointblank.
Soon after, Jerudong FC's Sufri did not make the same mistake as the forward drilled a header in at the far post to give his side a surprise lead in the 31st minute.
Jerudong FC almost lost the advantage when the defence failed to stop Md Hardyman's burst on the right flank, but Md Arib denied the forward with an excellent sliding tackle to keep his side in front at the break.
Md Mardi sounded the alarm that signalled QAF FC's comeback with a beautiful freekick that beat the Jerudong FC goalkeeper in the 48th minute.
QAF FC then took the lead when Ak Md Kamarul Ariffin's corner kick was volleyed goalwards by skipper Riwandi in the 60th minute.
Four minutes later, Adie Arsham doubled QAF FC's advantage when he had the defenders beaten to cannon the ball into the bottom corner of Jerudong FC's net.
From then on, QAF FC were in total control of the match. Riwandi's header widened the gap in the 73rd minute and Adie Arsham's goal three minutes later guaranteed QAF FC the victory.
However, Jerudong FC were almost set for a miraculous comeback when Md Faizul Azmi Mohd Jalani was felled in the box. Though it seemed like QAF FC goalkeeper Junaidi had got the ball first, the referee did not hesitate to award Jerudong FC a penalty kick which Faizul buried into the back of the net in the 85th minute.
QAF FC failed to recover in time and Muhd Safwan trimmed the goal difference with a shot that beat the QAF FC goalkeeper again a minute later to make it 5-3.
But, it was just a little too late for a comeback and, even with two minutes of stoppage time, Jerudong FC had to succumb to the defeat.
The BPL II also saw action yesterday with the Brunei Youth Team held 2-2 by Lun Bawang at the Berakas Sports Complex.
Action resumes tonight with AM Gunners FC taking on LLRC FT at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.
Meanwhile, over at the Berakas Sports Complex, the BPL II match between Rimba Star FC and Menglait FC will take place.
Kickoff is at 8.15pm for both matches.The Brunei Times
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