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Monday, September 03, 2001

Football - Brunei's nightmare in KL

By Abdul Khalik Saifulrijal

The Brunei Darussalam football team started their SEA Games campaign with a 5-0 loss against host country, Malaysia in a fast-paced and somewhat ill tempered game last night. During the match, it seemed Brunei had no answer to Malaysia's better-prepared and well-organised offensive rapiers.

From the start off the game, the Malaysian players, urged on by a partisan crowd, seemed determined to stamp their mark on the game with their robust challenges and roughhouse approach. The Bruneian players seemed to come into the game slowly in particular the defence which was noticeably shaky.

It did not take long for tempers to boil over as both Riwandi Wahit and Malaysia's Md Shukor Adan were given their marching orders in the 29th minute for their part in a 'free-for-all' which erupted after a reckless and unnecessary challenge by Malaysian midfielder Abd Aziz Ismail on Brunei's Idris Lupat which astonishingly went unpunished.

Malaysia opened their account when Indra Putra Mahayuddin scored his side's first goal in the 37th minute after a cross from the right flank was not cleared by the Bruneian defence leaving an unmarked Indra to slot the ball home.

The home side's second goal came in the 43rd minute of the first half when French based, Akmal Rizal scored after the Bruneian defence was caught napping.

It was Akmal again who headed in Malaysia's third goal during the extra-time period of the first half although he seemed to be in an offside position.

Bruneian attacks, blunted by Riwandi's dismissal and several inaccurate passes, were few and far between as they struggled to attempt shots on goal in the first-half. This pattern continued into the second half of the match.

The team, spurred on by captain, Md Subhi Abdillah, tried their best to come back into the game by packing the midfield although their attempts were thwarted by Malaysia's physically imposing defenders.

Akmal Rizal completed his hattrick and scored his team's fourth in the 60th minute of play after skipping past two Bruneian defenders brilliantly before applying a clinical finish, truly a contender for goal of the competition.

The rout was completed when Malaysia was awarded a penalty in the 82nd min after a foul by Md Halimi Abu Bakar on a Malaysian player in the penalty box. Md Nizaruddin Yusuf stepped up to convert the penalty sending Brunei's custodian, Md Wardun Yusof the wrong way.

Brunei are now left to pick up the pieces and they have to do so swiftly as they face the unenviable task of meeting SEA football giants Vietnam on the 4th and Indonesia on the 11th respectively for their remaining games.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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