Al Idrus secure President 1 final berth

|     Fadhil Yunus     |


AL IDRUS FT booked their place in the President 1 final after beating RB Veterans 2-0 at the Royal Brunei Recreation Club in Berakas yesterday.

Azmanuddin Gillen opened the scoring in the 33rd minute before Haji Hassan Haji Damit provided a two-goal cushion in the 71st minute as Al Idrus cruised to a comfortable victory.

RB Veteran goalkeeper Kamarul Ariffin DP Haji A Rahman made a series of magnificent saves to keep the scores down.

The progression to the final ensured that Al Idrus are on course to lift a domestic double as they also have interest in the VFA Cup.

RB Veterans registered their first shot on target after Yunus Aimi curled a free-kick straight at Al Idrus FT shot-stopper Mohd Faisal Hashim in the opening minutes.

Al Idrus FT’s Haji Hassan Haji Damit (left) controls the ball during the President 1 semi-final against RB Veterans. – FADHIL YUNUS

At the other end, Azmanuddin Gillen delivered one of his signature set-pieces but none of his team-mates were on hand to get the telling touch.

The former national team midfielder had a good chance to open the deadlock at the stroke of half-time but his header ended straight at the goalkeeper.

RB carved a rare chance after Haji Yusli Haji Md Yusof contrived to hit the side-netting with what was their closest opportunity to stun the designated hosts.

The tournament favourites opened the breakthrough which originated from winning the ball in the opposition’s half.

Hairodin Abdullah sent a teasing cross into the box and after the defence could not clear the ball away, Azmanuddin pounced with a cool finish.

RB Veterans nearly provided a swift reply after the setback as Haji Yusli Haji Md Yusof connected to a Haji Asdi Haji Duraini’s free-kick but it ended wide.

Al Idrus’s solid defence also contributed to keeping their dangerous opponents at bay as Roslan Haji Tahir made sure that Haji Asdi could not pass him.

Haji Hassan Haji Damit spurned the chance to double the lead after skewing his effort having been set through by Sharuni Haji Bungsu. Sharuni then fired his shot over the bar under pressure by a couple of bodies.

Haji Hassan returned to torment the RB defence and forced a strong save from Kamal Ariffin.

Sharuni cleverly teed off the ball for a team-mate whose effort sailed over the bar much to the relief of RB defence who were under threat.

The threat resumed as Ishak Haji Ibrahim glanced his header just off the near post after connecting from a decent Md Said Haji Sura’s cross.

RB looked to be in trouble after Sharuni rushed into the box and was about to pull the trigger when a fine intervention from defender Yunus Aimi ensured that they did not concede again.

The newly-introduced Haji Norazmie bin PDP A. Razak laid a fine ball for Ishak who directed the ball into the centre as the goalkeeper came up with another smart save to deny Haji Hassan. But there was no stopping the attacker who took his chance in the 71st minute.

Haji Norazmie was again at the heart of Al Idrus FT’s attacking play after combining with Ishak who after duping his marker with a feigned cross found Azmanuddin.

Azmanuddin’s compromising attempt was thwarted by Kamarul Ariffin who had been kept busy for most of the match.

RB had glimpses of handing a lifeline with Haji Yusli finding Haji Md Halimi Haji A Bakar but the latter skied his effort wide.

Al Idrus will face the winner of the I-Team and KB Warriors tie in the President 1 final.