Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Thursday, March 8, 2012
THERE were plenty of reason for Brunei to celebrate last night.
The history-making run continues for the national Under-21 football team as they are through to the final of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) after a 3-2 win over tournament favourites Myanmar in the semi-final last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
They will face Indonesia, who defeated Vietnam 2-0 in the other semi-final, tomorrow.
This is the furthest that the team have made in the competition having not progressed into the semi-finals in their past three attempts.
Brunei started off brightly and got their first chance in the ninth minute. Md Shafie Hj Effendy slipped behind the Myanmar defenders but was denied by keeper Pyaye Phyo Aung.
Midfielder Md Azwan Ali Rahman curled another shot almost immediately and it required the keeper to parry it above the crossbar.
Myanmar had their first chance through Thet Naing after he tested Brunei keeper Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof in the 16th minute.
Kyaw Ko Ko created a chance two minutes later after making his way into the box but Brunei's man in between the posts once again made the save.
Forward Adi Said almost put the home side up in the 20th minute after connecting on a Md Azwan freekick from midfield in the 20th minute but saw his attempt saved.
Pyae Phyo Oo was a constant threat on the left delivering pin point crosses into the box for Myanmar.
In the 25th minute, Mai Aih Naing weaved through the defence and found space but Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi once again made the save.
Myanmar were dominant with ball possession and finally broke the deadlock in the 31st minute.
Phyo Oo set up Aih Naing in the box but saw his shot blocked by a Bruneian defender. The deflected shot, however, fell nicely for Yan Aung Win to slot it down the middle to give Myanmar the lead.
Brunei were constantly on the back foot of the match but found themselves down only 1-0 at halftime.
The match took a turn for the better for the home side after they sent in the duo of midfielder Md Hendra Azam Md Idris and defender Hazwan Hamzah in the 52nd minute.
The former got into the mix quickly. He delivered a freekick three minutes after entering the game to Md Nurikhwan Othman who rose highest to level the scores with his header, sending the Bruneian supporters into a frenzy.
Brunei should have gone in front in the 59th minute after Adi found space but his powerful shot was fumbled by the Myanmar keeper.
Phyo Aung recovered quickly and did just enough to prevent Md Aminuddin Zakwan Tahir to score on the rebound.
The Sultanate took the lead in the 61st minute after Adi played a good throughball for Md Azwan to score on a quick turn.
With the backing of a strong Brunei crowd at the 30,000 capacity stadium, the momentum of the match changed and Brunei were now constantly on the attack.
With high confidence, Brunei put the match to bed when Adi registered his fourth goal of the tournament after connecting on a corner kick by captain Md Najib Hj Tarif in the 79th minute.
Myanmar were pushing forward with time against them but Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi was on hand to ensure they maintain their two-goal cushion.
Myanmar were handed a lifeline after Ko Ko was brought down in the box late into injury time.
Captain Kyaw Zayar Win would step up to convert the penalty but it was too little too late as they were sent packing from the biennial tournament.
The Brunei Times