BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sunday, March 4, 2012
-Royal support for Team Brunei
THREE goals inside the first 20 minutes paved the way for a crucial 3-0 win for Brunei over Malaysia in last night's Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) match.
The victory, which was their second in three games, puts them tied for second in Group B with Timor Leste making for tomorrow's final group stage game between the two sides all the more enticing.
Brunei lead Timor Leste on goal difference and will only need a draw to progress to the semi-finals for the first time, and after last night's composed display, they can definitely get the job done.
Present to watch Brunei's victory last night were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan, and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik.
The 3-0 scoreline must be a surprise to table toppers Vietnam, who Malaysia held to a 0-0 draw during their opener last Saturday. With just one point from three games, Malaysia only have pride left to play for when they take on Cambodia in their final game tomorrow.
The Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas was filled to the brim last night, and the strong home support helped Brunei stamp their mark on the match early on the first goal handing them a grip on the game they wouldn't relinquish until the final whistle.
Adi Said's glancing header after a cross from captain Md Najib Hj Tarif gave Brunei a deserved lead in the eighth minute, and piling on the pressure, the hosts would double their lead 10 minutes later through Md Aminuddin Zakwan Tahir.
Malaysia's defence was in sixes and sevens during another one of Brunei's surging runs forward, and failing to clear their lines, Md Aminuddin didn't need a second invite to pull the trigger from outside the box.
With momentum on their side, Brunei pushed forward in search of a killer third goal.
It took them only seconds to find it.
Adi and Md Aminuddin played some deft one-twos leading to the box, and Jay Han Gan was unlucky to see a shot deflected off him and into the net sparking a Mexican wave which was to be a re-occurring display on the night.
Malaysia's team to the HBT are filled with Under-19 players and they have yet to find their flow failing to string passes together and looking inept during set-pieces.
Their misery was compounded when Muhammad Hadin Azman was sent to an early shower in the 41st minute after Thai referee Mongkolchai Pechsri felt the forward dived when tackled in the box by Ak Md Abd Halim Pg Hj Hassan.
With Brunei continuing to control the game in the second half, a Malaysian comeback never looked likely.
Malaysia found it hard to penetrate Brunei's back-line which was led by a lanky Reduan Hj Petara.
The centre-back playing in place of midfielder Md Hendra Azam Md Idris, who picked up an ankle injury during Brunei's 2-1 loss to Vietnam on Wednesday was also a force to be reckoned with during set-pieces, evident by his three headers which were saved in the second half, which was marked with restraint on Brunei's part.The Brunei Times
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