| Fadhil Yunus |
RAHIMI’S crucial save to deny Ak Norazmi in the defining spot-kick won the 4th Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Futsal Cup for Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex last night.
Football commentators often say that a good team possess a striker that plays a traditional lone no 9 role. Most certainly a team with a striker of high quality can win games at a touch of a boot.
However, in a tightly contested affair with both teams playing their hearts and socks off, it was left to the goalkeeper to make the decisive save for a well-earned victory in the shootout and deny a highly-spirited Department of Community Development (JAPEM).
JAPEM was a team in the ascendancy early on but their predictable strategy was often dismissed by a team well organised and also effective up front. Bahrin, on the receiving end, of the long balls was found out on numerous occasions.
The perfect number 9 is a fox-in-the-box player ready to pounce any opportunities at the final third of the pitch. That duty fell to Ak Abd Rahman who was a constant menace throughout the match simply by sheer presence and his attacking flair.
Like many professional players, he wasted precious seconds by letting the opposition chase after the ball while he returns to position.
In a blink of an eye, the striker beat his marker for pace and expertly drilled a low shot past the JAPEM goalkeeper with the finish of a lethal striker and worthy of his role as a scoring assassin.
The second half witnessed a similar pattern as the first with JAPEM trying to find their break though opportunities were also in abundance for DBP.
Ak Abd Rahman was all over the pitch drawing fouls from a packed defence, winning free- kicks and coming close with a thunderbolt that was tipped away just on the final moment.
By the time, JAPEM ran out of ideas with defenders pressured in making an error, DBP sensed a second. Zulhilmy slipped a delicate ball to Ak Kamarul whose chip had it been an inch lower will certainly spell game over.
JAPEM have a gem of their own too in Irwan and the holding player as composed as ever pulled off a brilliant pass to Md Kamaluddin who did the rest with a cool finish to get back into the final.
JAPEM could have snatch victory in the end but the goalkeeper, again taking his gloves off as he did in the semi-final hit the post to get back to square one.
The heroics belonged to Rahimi who blocked Ak Norazmi shot as the DBP players sparked the celebrations by embracing the keeper.
Meanwhile, a quick double-fire by Hj Layar including a stunning long-range strike gave JBS ‘A’ Veteran the veteran category title in a 2-0 win against JBS ‘B’ Veteran.
Zainuddin of JBS ‘B’ missed a sitter in the match who would have awarded his side a 1-0 lead that time.
Presenting the trophies to the winners was the Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman.