| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI Darussalam failed to register a single point in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 qualification round after falling to a fourth consecutive defeat in a 1-0 loss to Cambodia at Chao Anouvong Stadium in Vientiane yesterday.
Even though the odds of moving out of the bottom of a group seemed heavily stacked against them due to a poor goal deficit, a win should have at least given the national team some pride in a dispiriting campaign in Laos.
Brunei’s brightest spell of the game before the breakthrough from the opposing side came on the stroke of half- time when Azwan Ali Rahman manufactured a pattern of promising plays with a starring role from Hendra Azam.
Hendra could not find an opening and opted to lift the ball over which was nodded in to Azwan Ali but the midfielder miscued his effort.
Cambodia’s Chhin Chhoeun pulled off a fine attempt keeping the ball low but travelled harmlessly before Brunei raised their game.
Azwan Ali Rahman laid a perfectly sliced pass to DPMM FC team-mate Sairol Sahari and was intercepted away for a corner. Brunei could not beat the first man from the ensuing corner which pretty summed up their luck.
The Wasps did fall behind as Chhin Chhoeun got the decisive touch to plant the ball to the bottom corner giving goalkeeper Azman Ilham Noor no chance. It was the 12th goal that Brunei Darussalam had conceded in four games.
Prak Mony Udom, a goal-scorer in this fixture in the qualifying round two years ago, slipped a crisp pass to Khoun Laboravy but the forward lacked the finish to at least trouble Azman.
Shahrazen Said limped out of the match injured with the initial source of the injury yet to be known. Maududi Hilmi Kasmi was an obvious option to accompany the frontline with the team’s performance on the line.
Maududi was at full stretch but could not find the required touch to direct towards goal as the ball was walloped across with absolute venom.
Meanwhile, Myanmar qualified as group winners following a 2-1 victory against Laos at National Sports Complex in a match held simultaneously.
Nanda Lin Kyaw Chit found the back of the net on the 43rd minute before Kyaw Ko Ko doubled the lead. Qualifying hosts Laos set up a thrilling finale after Ketsada Souksavanh converted a penalty but Myanmar held on for the win.
The AFF Suzuki Cup main draw is now set with co-hosts Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Laos making Group A and co-hosts Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar completing Group B.