Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Thursday, February 9, 2012
THE national Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) team left it till late to win 1-0 against the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB) in a friendly match last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
It was an evenly contested match from the start with both teams getting several chances on goal throughout the first half.
The HBT team enjoyed more ball possession despite their size disadvantage, using their pace to outrun their opponents.
MS ABDB came out on the attack in the second half but couldn't find a way to break down the national side's defence.
The HBT team did pick up the slack and had MS ABDB on the backfoot midway through the second half.
They created plenty of chances but failed to find the back of the net with their opponents clearing the ball well.
It was in the 80th minute when they finally broke the deadlock.
Striker Adi Said headed home the winner from a corner kick after he rose above two MS ABDB defenders to seal the match.
National football coach Kwon Oh-son felt that the game could have gone either way but praised his players on the win.
"It was only in the second half that the players stepped up to play a better at both ends. But I thought the players put up a pretty good performance and had good concentration throughout the game," said Kwon in an interview with The Brunei Times after the match.
"The only problem now is our finishing. We will have to continue to work on our attacking because as of now we are only at 85 per cent and we will need to get that 15 per cent just before the tournament (HBT)," he added.
"We have been working on our set pieces and it showed with the goal tonight (Wednesday night). I do believe in the players and they have got very good potential," continued the South Korean.
"It is good to get the win. We played a friendly (against MS ABDB) on Friday and won 3-2. This time our opponents came out prepared and have adjusted really well for the match," added the national coach.
The HBT team have to make use of every sparring opportunity both locally and internationally.
Their only chance on outside competition came at the 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, where they returned home from the Dec 4-11 biennial event with a silver medal.
They started the Games with a 2-0 win over Sarawak, but lost to eventual champions East Kalimantan 2-1 before bouncing back 2-1 against South Kalimantan to finish in second place.
The country have been handed a favourable draw in the competition for the Under-21 teams in the ASEAN region.
The Sultanate will take on Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore during the Feb 25-March 9 regional biennial tournament.
Group B is made up of defending champions Thailand, Cambodia, Timor Leste and Vietnam.
The top-two countries from each group will advance to the second round (semi-finals), a feat which Brunei has yet to achieve despite hosting it in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
Thailand are the tournament's defending champions after beating Myanmar 5-4 on penalties the last time the event was contested. Thailand beat Indonesia to lift the 2005 edition of the trophy to dethrone the previous titleholders.
The Brunei Times