Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sunday, February 26, 2012
-HM opens Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy
CAPTAIN fantastic couldn't have struck at a better time.
Brunei skipper Md Najib Hj Tarif scored a freekick in injury time to give Brunei a 3-2 victory over Cambodia in Group B of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
Substitute Ak Md Abd Halim Pg Hj Hassan was brought down just outside the box with minutes before the final whistle. Md Najib stepped up and curled the ball to the top right corner for the win.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who earlier officiated at the opening ceremony of the tournament,was also present to witness the match.
Also in attendance was His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; Their Royal Highnesses Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Honorary President, Prince 'Abdul Malik and Prince 'Abdul Wakeel.
Cambodia had the best of starts after Prak Mony Udom was brought down in the box by Abd Mu'iz Sisa in the sixth minute.
The former took the ensuing spotkick and made no mistake about it to give Cambodia a 1-0 lead.
The home team looked nervous after the early goal and Brunei fans were getting restless as the players were giving the ball away cheaply.
Striker Adi Said got behind the Cambodian backline in the 23rd minute and was brought down in the box, but the referee waved it off as the Brunei bench had their hands up in disbelief.
Boosted by the royal family and fans' support Brunei began to settle, but midfielder Chhin Chhoeun was a constant menace for the Brunei defence with his pace.
Cambodia were relying on their counter-attack and almost doubled their lead when Srey Udom was given space to work on the right but his cross saw Teab Vathanak's attempt inches wide off the Brunei post.
Brunei equallised just before the break after the Cambodian defence failed to clear the ball in the box allowing Md Hendra Azam Md Idris to drill in a low shot that slipped under the arms of Cambodia goalkeeper Sar Sophea.
The hosts came out storming in the second half. They were playing at a faster pace and were continuously on the attack, but they were also too wasteful.
Md Azwan Ali Rahman should have given the Sultanate the lead in the 54th minute, but his shot went just above the crossbar.
They finally found a breakthrough in the 75th minute for the lead. Brunei went on a counter-attack and substitute Md Shafie Hj Md Effendy slotted a perfect throughball for Adi to rifle home and put Brunei up at 2-1.
Md Azwan should have put the match to bed with his attempt in the 80th minute, but his shot was cleared off the line.
Cambodia levelled in the 83rd minute with a freekick by Chan Vathanaka which floated over the Brunei wall and over the outstretched arm of Mk Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof.
Both teams looked like they were going to share the spoils before Md Najib turned hero.
"It was a difficult game but the players showed good team organisation and good mentality," said Kwon Oh-son, the Brunei national coach, after the match.
"The defence was good, but our strikers lacked the finishing tonight (Saturday night). We have a short break before our next game (against Vietnam on Wednesday) and we shall prepare ourselves," he added.
THE national football team were 3-2 winners over Cambodia in their Group B game of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
And the team felt that they couldn't have done it without the 12th man with the venue packed with thousands of supporters for their opener.
"We would like to thank the crowd for the huge support that they gave us. We hope that they will continuously come to the stadium and pack it to the brim," said Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff, the manager of the Brunei team, after the win.
"Who are we without the supporters? They are definitely one of the reasons for our victory tonight (Saturday night)," he added. The Brunei Times