Brunei face uphill battle after first leg loss in AFF qualifiers

|     Fadhil Yunus     |

BRUNEI Darussalam national football team faced a battle in reaching the main draw of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 after a 3-1 defeat to Timor Leste in the first leg of the qualification round at the KLFA Stadium in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur last night.

Brunei Darussalam carved a half-hearted chance as forward Adi Said unleashed a long-range effort which sailed wide after receiving a pass from his club teammate Yura Indera Putera.

The designated hosts took the lead in the 27th minute after Henrique Wilson Da Cruz Martins connected a cushioned ball by Rufino Walter Gama.

Timor Leste midfielder Paulo Domingos Gali Da Costa Freitas tried his luck from distance but it was comfortably dealt with by Brunei Darussalam shot-stopper Haimie Anak Nyaring.

A five-minute spell of clinical finishing saw Henrique double his tally and the lead after latching onto a long ball from Paulo Domingos before firing home a cool finish past Haimie.

Brunei Darussalam forward Adi Said with the ball. – AFF

Brunei came close in pulling a goal back as Najib Tarif’s shot from an acute angle was blocked for a corner with the DPMM FC players also found to be involved in the build-up play including Shah Razen Said, Azwan Ali Rahman and Adi Said.

The Wasps reduced the deficit in the 56th minute through Azwan Ali with his DPMM FC teammates providing valuable contributions. Shah Razen provided a dangerous ball into the box and Adi laid the ball for Azwan with a cushioned header before the winger buried his shot from a tight angle much to the delight of the travelling Brunei supporters.

Timor Leste received a blow after Joao Pedro Freitas left the field on a stretcher but the player who replaced him, Silveiro Garcia, would deliver good news to the team.

Henrique’s hold-up play was key in setting up Nelson Sarmento Viegas free who released a defence-splitting pass into the path of Rufino and with Haimie committed, the forward rounded past him and squared the ball to Silveiro who simply could not miss at the death.

Brunei will look to overturn a 3-1 deficit in the second leg at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on September 8.