Wijaya FC star Norfariz Sayang puts on a match-winning display as his first-half brace sank MS PPDB in a 2-1 victory in the opening league fixture of the Brunei Super League at the Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex last night.
The striker, who carried the team with his match-winning strikes on numerous occasions last season, helped establish his side a two-goal lead before a controversial penalty from Md Zul Khairi bin Haji Md Salleh made matters interesting in the second half.
The Wijaya attack applied pressure to the MS PPDB defence and forced them to lose possession which allowed Norfariz a route to goal.
Making the most of his chance, the forward managed to get his shot under the body of the MS PPDB’s goalkeeper Abdul Hafis Ahmad and rolled into the empty net.
The Ong Sum Ping based club were then awarded a free-kick and Norfariz knocked down a header for his second goal of the game following a howler from the MS PPDB’s goalkeeper.
Wijaya had a decent opportunity to extend their lead as debutant Brian Lim Yong Song found his way through into the final third and sliced his shot narrowly wide.
In the second half, Brian received a through ball from the middle of the pitch and blasted his shot wide from range.
After that, MS PPDB became a real threat and brought the game to Wijaya. However, it took a controversial penalty to hand them a precious lifeline on the game after the linesman appeared to award a penalty with Wijaya defender Norzaimin Zaini penalised for bringing down MS PPDB player Farish Aryan Abdul Rahman.
The police personnel got back into the match as Md Zul Khairi converted the penalty in the 53rd minute.
MS PPDB enjoyed a good passage of play and was nearly rewarded with a goal but an outstretched Md Naim Haji Tarif fired his shot into the skies.
Wijaya team manager Hilmi Hazwan Zakaria heaped praise on the efforts and performances of his charges after they opened the league season with a win.
He also singled out the individual performances of match-winner Norfariz who helped lift his side to victory with his goals.
“I praise all the players for the victory and not just a particular player,” said Hilmi Hazwan in an interview with the Weekend Bulletin.
“But Norfariz always amaze us and surprise us with his goals. He was one of the top three top scorers last season,” he added.
The Wijaya striker was battling with Kasuka FC’s attacker Md Hadif Aiman bin Adanan in the scoring charts with the latter eventually scooping the award at the end of last season.
He further added, “He is brilliant but again every player has done a very good job.”
The manager also hinted that 17-year old Khairan Zikry Zulkhairi could feature in the future having made it to the substitutes’ bench in last night’s match.
“At this moment, he (Khairan) is still young. We have to consider the safety of the player but in the future when the games are kind of balanced, we will try to play him as his first debut.”
He added, “Perhaps, we can start with him coming on the pitch with ten minutes remaining and then if he can adapt to the game, we shall start him for the next few games.”