Naim late strike saves a point for MS PPDB

Fadhil Yunus

MS PPDB produced one of the standout performances in the Brunei Super League this season after battling to a 1-1 draw against newcomers DPMM FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium of the Police Headquarters in Gadong yesterday.

DPMM FC, who last year won the Brunei Premier League, will hope to be included in the title discussion especially having added former Albirex Niigata (S) defender Shuhei Sasahara and South Korea youngster Jho Choi given licence to roam the pitch.

However, MS PPDB proved that with hunger and desire as well as a fight which they thoroughly showed yesterday, results are far from a given in the Brunei top flight.

DPMM FC new forward Abdul Azim Rashid played against his old club MS PPDB for the first time since making the switch but did not score any goal to mark the occasion. Goalkeeper Pengiran Mu’izzuddin bin Pengiran Ismail also had a reunion with his old teammates.

The hosts looked bright right from the onset as Farish Aryan Abdul Rahman got his shot across but was well saved by Pengiran Mu’izzuddin.

ABOVE & BELOW: DPMM FC’s Afif Roshidi celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the MS PPDB; and DPMM FC’s Shafiq Hidayat shoots on goal against MS PPDB players. PHOTOS: FADHIL YUNUS

The police personnel made their presence felt early during the game as their physicality was demonstrated evidently on one occasion when DPMM FC winger Shafie Effendy was bullied off the ball.

With Jho Choi taking the mantle as DPMM FC’s creative outlet, he showed silky touches with the ball on the by-line which resulted in a corner.

DPMM FC youngster Afif Roshidi, one of three 18-year-olds in the starting line-up, stabbed the ball home for the opening goal of the game after both his teammates and the police’s defence challenged for the ball off an inviting cross.

After the first goal, the home side never gave their opponents an easy time as they did not allow ample time with the ball and looked dangerous with every attack.

The police personnel escaped jail after a miskick from Md Azri Zahari but DPMM FC’s Shafiq Hidayat Azim Sharizam blasted his effort wide.

The hosts came close with the leveller after left back Abdul Hafiz Haji Ahmad fizzed a long-range effort bound for the top corner but his attempt was foiled by Pengiran Mu’izzuddin.

Shafiq Hidayat had rarely seen a sight in goal thanks to a solid defensive masterclass from the duo of Azri and Awangku Md Amiruddin Pengiran Jamaluddin, but he nearly doubled his side’s lead after his shot rattled against the crossbar.

For all the hosts’ attacking prowess, MS PPDB’s perseverance finally paid off after Md Naim bin Haji Tarif drew his side level with a low powerful finish two minutes from time.