| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI Darussalam’s under-21 team produced one of the most memorable nights in their history in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy for ASEAN Youth Football Tournament after edging Thailand 2-1 in stoppage time of the Group ‘A’ match at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium last night.
The victory puts the host nation in contention of advancing from Group ‘A’ with their future resting on the outcome against Myanmar on Monday.
Brunei nearly enjoyed an early breakthrough after forward Razimie Ramlli was sharp to tend to the loose ball and with the goalkeeper Suadsong Supanut committed, his header ended wide.
The hosts defended well as they restricted Thailand to long-range attempts typified by a shot which went waywardly wide by Sornyoha Tharadon.
The young Tabuan came very close in getting the opener after Razimie’s header was superbly saved by the outstretched arm of Suadsong from a Faiq Jefri Bolkiah’s corner.
Thailand came close in opening their account after Kinnonkok Kitti beat his marker Muhammad Abdul Syakir but was unable to beat goalkeeper Ishyra Asmin Jabidi from an acute angle.
The home side failed to connect a chance to take the lead after Haziq Kasyful Azim volleyed his shot wide after a pullback by Faiq on the by-line.
Razimie was involved in an one-on-one with the goalkeeper after being played through but the goalkeeper held firm for a crucial stop as the defence came to sweep the danger.
Faiq then delivered a cross and Razimie was inches wide of getting a touch which would have been a definite goal.
The Leicester City reserves winger nearly pulled an incredible solo goal after skipping past players but hit the side-netting.
Brunei finally broke the deadlock which was inspired by the individual brilliance of Faiq whose dribbling made him a great threat to the opposition.
Faiq seamlessly whizzed past a couple of defenders and could have gone down but stayed on his feet before passing the ball to Naziruddin Haji Ismail who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner in the 71st minute.
However, Thailand drew level in the 77th minute after a finely executed free-kick routine with the Bruneian defence caught off-guard expecting the ball to be delivered into the box.
Thailand played a couple of passes from the free-kick before the unmarked Paso Sittichok drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.
The War Elephants missed a chance to go ahead after Chootiwat Nattawut skewed his effort wide after being set up by Sansanit Kittipong.
The hosts benefitted with a long ball from Ishyra as Azim beat his marker before his attempt aimed for the top corner was denied by Suadsong.
From the ensuing corner, Azim found Yura Indera Putera on the far post who slotted home a dramatic winner from close range in injury time as the 25,600-strong crowd erupted with joy.
But the hosts survived a late scare at the end of the match after a header was arrowed over the bar and held on for a famous win.