| Fadhil Yunus |
PANCHOR Murai missed the chance to capitalise on BSRC FT’s slip-up and climb above them in third place in their season-ending DST Premier League fixture after they lost 3-2 to Rainbow FC at the Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.
Rainbow FC forward Muhd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim bin Shahrizam stole the limelight with an impressive match-winning hat-trick.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides as Panchor Murai FC’s forward Sahrul bin Haji Sabtu broke free in the box and forced a double save from Rainbow goalkeeper Mohd Arib bin Haji Umar.
Sahrul’s attacking teammate Awangku Muhammad Nur Hidayat bin Pengiran Haji Abas beat the offside trap and ventured forward before making a cutback into the box. It was an anxious moment for the Rainbow backline but the ball was successfully cleared for a corner.
Hasmadi bin Wahit drove his shot wide after reacting to a half-hearted clearance from the Panchor Murai defence.
Rainbow’s Muhd Syafiq Hidayat proved a handful for his marker Md Norazimmin bin Zakaria after bursting into the box. However, he was unable to get past Md Aqim bin Haji Matsah who was well-placed to contain the attacking threat.
Hasmadi tried to cross the ball for Muhd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim but the ball was just too long though the latter signalled a gesture in appreciation of his intention.
Awangku Muhammad Nur Hidayat’s attempt with his free-kick from shooting range ended waywardly wide much to the relief of Mohd Arib.
Rainbow’s Arifubillah bin Masli released Mohd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim with an incisive pass whose shot ended at the hands of Panchor Murai shot-stopper Zunnur Hazwan bin Daud amid tight marking by Md Norazimmin.
Mohd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim then headed wide a cross from Hasmadi moments after getting a sniff in goal. Hasmadi tested Zunnur Hazwan with a decent effort but the goalkeeper pushed the ball away.
Awangku Muhammad Nur Hidayat tried to get the inside of a Rainbow defender but as he looked to get away the ball was crucially cleared for a throw-in.
Rainbow defender Haji Md Azdim Anwaruddin bin Haji Sharifuddin seemed to fall prey into Sahrul’s clever thinking after leaning in towards the striker which was deemed to be a free-kick just on the edge of the box. From the ensuing free-kick, Panchor Murai had a goal disallowed for offside.
Rainbow took the lead after Muhd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim showed fine touches before drilling a low effort home with Abdul Hafiz bin Azmin credited as the instigator.
After the game restarted, Sahrul stole a yard off a defender and curled a shot but the Rainbow goalkeeper may have taken a crucial touch to divert the ball into the right-hand post.
Immediately after getting close to level the match, Panchor Murai went further behind as Muhd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim struck again in deadly fashion, guiding the ball home from the far post on the stroke of half-time.
Mohd Noorshaiman bin Nooradiman came off the bench to reduce the deficit for Panchor Murai in the 54th minute but Rainbow restored their two-goal cushion as Muhd Syafiq Hidayat Al-Azim completed his hat-trick in the 83rd minute.
Panchor Murai’s hopes of salvaging a draw – which would have taken them above BSRC FT by a single point- were renewed after another substitute Sharil bin Sebti scored a minute from time but Rainbow held on for the win.