KOTA Rangers left it late to snatch the winner and break Panchor Murai FC hearts in an enthralling 2-1 victory on the opening day of the DST Premier League at the Berakas Sports Complex last night.
It looked a possibility that the newcomers, making their league debut would hold on for a surprise draw as Kota Rangers seemed to run out of ideas but the unrelenting pressure were finally told.
The experienced side were winning headers and set-pieces but could not find a way to unlock the Panchor’s defence.
Until the 89th minute, Panchor’s goalkeeper was the favourite to collect every loose ball.
Kota Rangers experienced captain Hairoddin bin Abdullah could claim an assist for Helme bin Panjang who bulldozed the Panchor’s defence before setting a tidy finish past Haimie Anak Nyaring.
At this point, one may think they can finally put their feet off the pedestal but the goal unbelievably spurred Panchor Murai a reaction that led to their equaliser at the end of the first half.
Rangers’ defending did not help either but credit must be given for Panchor to keep fighting in search for a late draw.
Indeed, they have a clear-cut chance but substitute Mohd Nadzrul Iqbal bin Mohd Azimi scuffed his shot from six yards out.
It started from winding down the clock down at the corner flag when a Kota Rangers player risked losing possession and finally losing it as Ahmad Asyraf bin Md Saudian sprinted for his dear life.
Thankfully for Kota Rangers, Pg Shahruddin bin Pg Hj Md Tejuddin came to the aid to force a corner.
The match had gone to injury time when Panchor created another opportunity via a corner. Panchor’s fans were buzzing as Kota Rangers were hanging on to protect their lead. Anywhere would do for Rangers and they would be relieved to see it wide.
Ediruslan bin Hj Abd Samad had given Kota Rangers the lead but Mohammad Nazirul Azmi bin Hj Ali cancelled out the advantage in the 43th minute.
Meanwhile, a dramatic Saldi Sohadey equaliser for BSRC ensured share of the spoils in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Tunas FC at the Tutong Sports Complex.