| Fadhil Yunus |
TABUAN continued their title charge at the summit of the NFABD Under-16 Youth League after they overpowered Indera SC 4-1 at the Kilanas Community Field yesterday.
The league leaders were contained for most of the first half but a late goal intertwined with a slice of fortune just before the break led them towards victory.
Muhd Azirul Aiman bin Suderman gifted the national youth team the lead in the 15th minute but Indera drew level just four minutes later through Aqil Danish bin Hirman.
Tabuan’s Mohd Hasnol bin Abdullah Haslan is widely known as the central figure who leads his team’s well-marshalled defence but he joined his fellow attacking teammates in the score-sheet with a long-range effort which caught the Indera backline by surprise.
The league leaders threatened to extend their narrow lead as Mohammad Hazwan bin Hasmi pierced through the Indera defence in the early proceedings of the second half but Indera SC goalkeeper Muhd Izzat Danial bin Hairul stopped him in his tracks with a crucial dive.
Md Syaherrul Affendy bin Md Syahmirul Nizam attempted a curled effort from distance but did not trouble Muhd Izzat who gleefully accepted the ball with open arms.
Muhd Izzat avoided an error when he missed the ball which allowed Muhd Azirul Aiman bin Suderman a welcoming invitation but the Indera defence spared his blushes with a goal-line clearance. The Tabuan attacker had a second bite of the cherry but his shot flew wide.
Md Syaherrul Affendy forced a decent save by the Indera goalkeeper who bravely committed himself to take in a powerful shot from close proximity, but there was little he could do when the attacker subsequently lobbed the ball into the net.
Tabuan’s Awangku Muhd Amirul Hazim bin Pengiran Haji Zulkarnain received the ball in the box but his fierce drive was saved by the Indera goalkeeper, who was kept busy for most of the match. The opportunity came largely from the trickery of Awangku Md Idzzaham Alwshahmezan bin Pengiran Metali, who ran rings in the Indera defence.
Indera moved into an advanced position and after winning a corner, a player picked out an unattended ball but his shot inadvertently arrowed wide. They had a half chance soon after but the ball ended up safely in the hands of the untroubled Tabuan goalkeeper.
Tabuan sensed a genuine opportunity when Md Syaherrul Affendy brilliantly controlled a long ball and turned to make room for a shot but it ended harmlessly wide.
There was still time for Tabuan to pursue one final attack as Ahmad Danish Hakim bin Azami drilled home an exquisite finish on the edge of the box, having been set up by a teammate.