Coach heartened by second-half display despite heavy loss

|     Fadhil Yunus     |

BRUNEI Darussalam’s national futsal coach Haji Md Yunos bin Haji Md Yusof will be drawing on some positives from a much-improved showing in the second half despite falling to a 13-0 defeat to Myanmar in their group opener at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Championship at the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam yesterday.

The national coach saw his charges plundered eight goals but they managed to let in five after the interval and also created decent opportunities of their own too to salvage some pride.

“The eight goals we’ve conceded in the first half provided us a lesson to rectify our errors in terms of our defensive play,” Haji Md Yunos told the media.

“In the second half, we changed the rhythm and created several scoring opportunities and only conceded five goals. However, luck was not on our side,” he further added.

It was always going to be an uphill battle against the White Angels who were finalists in the previous edition and in the process stunning former winners Indonesia, the only other winner in the tournament other than Thailand.

“We were quite startled with the quality of play that Myanmar brought today,” said the national coach who represented his country as a goalkeeper from 1984 to 1999.

Brunei Darussalam’s goalkeeper Nabil Maidin attempts to put off Myanmar’s forward Aung Aung during their group tie yesterday. – AFF

He said that Brunei did not have warm-up matches which would have enabled them to look for compatibility between players as preparations for the tournament which have been done by other participating countries.

Despite the defeat, Haji Md Yunos refused to wave the white flag and has underlined the high importance of the Indonesia match.

“Our first defeat in the competition does not mean that we will give up. We will be correcting our errors and we will improve on what we lacked from our first match.”

“The match against the Garuda (Indonesia) will be an important mission and hopefully we will not be repeating the same mistakes from the first match,” he concluded.

The Wasps could have broken their scoring duck following a clear-cut opportunity after Abdul Azim Boll Hassan hit his shot straight at Myanmar’s goalkeeper after being set up by Abi Syarillizam Sabtu. Brunei’s captain Maziri Maidin won a free kick after he was clipped by a Myanmar player before his subsequent shot from the rebound was blocked.

Myanmar’s Khin Zaw Linn laid a ball to Pyae Phyo Maung who forced a double save from Brunei goalkeeper Husin Aji.

Myanmar’s Kyaw Kyaw Tun then found space to unleash a fierce drive but it was safely handled by the assured hands of Husin who proved to be an automatic choice given his excellent display between the sticks in the second half.

Myanmar also had an open net to aim at but unfortunately slipped at the crucial moment and could not get the shot away though the goals were not drying up at this stage.

Kyaw provided a classy finish after exchanging neat passes with a teammate for his second of the game. Myanmar had options and opted to find a team-mate waiting for the ball in the near post but his shot brushed off against the post from an acute angle.

With Brunei playing the ball backwards, Myanmar invited pressure which worked as three players narrowed the angle for a Bruneian defender hence forcing him to make a misplaced pass.

The ball fell to Naing Ye Kyaw, who had no opposing players beside him, and threaded a pass to Pyae Phyo Maung whose cross was half-heartedly cleared away by Husin allowing Aung Aung to rifle into the roof of the net.

It was exhibition football for the White Angels as Maung delightfully showed a piece of individual brilliance lifting the ball into the air before picking up Aung Aung.

The goalscorer provided the cutback for Nyein Min Soe but Husin made a fine stop to deny the midfielder from point blank range.

And the Street United shot-stopper came to his side’s rescue again after sparing embarrassment from his teammate Faiz Hasnan scoring an own goal through his outstretched arms.

Moments after Aung Aung missed an opportunity to complete his hat-trick after skewing his shot wide, Husin provided a long throw into the opposition half and though Brunei were one-on-one with the goalkeeper the late consolation did not arrive.

Meanwhile in the other Group ‘A’ tie, Indonesia, Brunei’s next opponents, trounced Philippines 21-0.