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Sunday, July 3, 2022
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Sunday, July 3, 2022
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    Kota Ranger book last eight berth after Esmendy winner

    |     Fadhil Yunus     |

    KOTA Ranger FC staged a comeback in the 2-1 victory against an undefeated DPMM FC in the round of 16 of the DST FA Cup and booked their place in the quarterfinals at the Jerudong Park Mini Stadium last night.

    DPMM FC came into the cup tie preserving an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions while Kota Ranger FC only last season challenged for the league title.

    The enormity of the task faced by DPMM FC was apparent to see although they headed the match having easily brushed off competition from all comers in the DST Premier League.

    The Jerudong-based outfit have only been matched by Tabuan Muda and were given a run for their money by a highly-spirited Rainbow FC up to this point but the DST Super League outfit proved a step-up in the quality of the opposition.

    Kota Ranger forward Mohd Esmendy bin Brahim took on a defender and unleashed a curled shot which DPMM FC goalkeeper Abdul Mutalip bin Haji Mohammad got both hands on.

    DPMM FC and Kota Ranger FC players in action during a DST FA Cup round of 16 tie. – FADHIL YUNUS

    Muhd Asyraffahmi bin Norsam struck his free-kick on target for the visitors but it was handled well by Abdul Mutalip.

    Kota Ranger captain Muhd Afi bin Aminuddin directed his header towards goal from a corner but the ball was half cleared by a DPMM FC defender.

    The hosts have not been able to find their usual rhythm but they struck to devastating effect with their first genuine opportunity of the game. DPMM FC striker Muhd Hanif Farhan bin Azman reacted to a loose ball and rifled home into the bottom corner from the run of play.

    Md Hakeme Yazid bin Said’s dipping free-kick gave Kota Ranger goalkeeper Azman Ilham bin Haji Mohd Noor – who returned to familiar territory having previously represented DPMM FC – some complications but the experienced goalkeeper parried the ball away.

    Mohd Esmendy had the ball glued to his feet with a fine display of ball control before repeating his effort of attempting to squeeze the ball into the bottom corner. Abdul Mutalip ensured that he had both arms on the ball with a Kota Ranger player lurking for the rebound.

    DPMM FC nearly doubled the advantage after they were denied by a goal-bound clearance as Azman Ilham’s defence spared his blushes for spilling the ball.

    The hosts saw a glancing header comfortably wide from a cross while on the other end Muhd Fathurrahman bin Embran came close with a snapshot that left Abd Mutalip worried.

    The visitors levelled the match through Muhd Afi in the 48th minute before Mohd Esmendy dispatched a dramatic penalty in the 104th minute to send his side through to the last eight.

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