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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Najip beat Tabuan Muda

  • Najip I-Team’s Mohd Amirul Hamrey Mohd Norshaney (R) in action during
    last night’s DST Super League game against Tabuan Muda at the Berakas Sport Complex.BT/Zaim Kasmat
  • Najip I-Team’s Azri Zahari (2nd R) is tackled by a Tabuan Muda player 
    during their DST Super League game at the Berakas Sport Complex last night.
    BT/Zaim Kasmat
Thursday, May 7, 2015 

LEADERS Najip I-Team stretched their unbeaten run in the DST Super League to four games after a 3-1 victory over Tabuan Muda (national Under-23 team) at the Berakas Sports Complex last night.

Najip lead the 10-team table with a maximum of 12 points while second-place Tabuan Muda are on seven points but have played two matches more.

Tabuan Muda coach Stephen Ng Heng Seng - who will be leading the team at the SEA Games later this month - felt that their lack of experience let them down.

“We lost out experience wise. This is something we got to work on,” said Ng in an interview with The Brunei Times.

“First half we dominated the game but we couldn’t create the clear finishing. Experience will come in and confidence will follow,” he added.

Judging by last night’s performance, Tabuan Muda will have a hard time going up against their regional counterparts at the SEA Games. The Sultanate start their Group B campaign against Vietnam in Group B on May 29.

Brunei shipped 15 goals against the Vietnamese over the past two editions in Myanmar (2013) and Indonesia (2011), failing to score in any of the games.

Brunei face Laos two days later, Timor Leste on June 3 and defending champions Thailand on June 6. They will complete their group stage play with a meeting against 2009 and 2011 winners Malaysia on June 8.

Najip opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after a freekick from the left was headed down to the path of Md Amirul Hamrey Md Norshaney in the box to fire it to the right corner.

Azri Zahari tried to drill one to the bottom right corner five minutes later, but his shot was saved by Ahsanuddin Hj Mohd Dani in between the sticks.

The Under-23 side had a good chance to level just before the halftime whistle after Mohd Asnawi Syazni Abd Aziz found Mohd Rakin Ramli inside the box.

However, the latter’s attempt on the turn was saved by Najip goalkeeper Ron Junior Philip.

Najip took just five minutes into the second half to add to the scoresheet after a ball was played over the top from midfield.

Substitute Abd Afiq Roslan outpaced the entire Tabuan Muda backline and blasted it past an onrushing Ahsanuddin to double their lead. Najip were awarded a penalty after Haziman Hj Abd Halim was brought down inside the box being surrounded by three Tabuan Muda players.

Haziman stepped up to take the spot kick himself and made no mistake to bring the scoreline to 3-0. Tabuan Muda finally got on the scoresheet in the 79th minute after Mohd Shafie Mohd Effendy sent in a cross from the left to Md Nur Syazwan Halidi.

The latter then played it to the middle for an unmarked Ak Md Halim Pg Hassan to put it past Philip.

Tabuan Muda found new confidence and continued to press on forward in search of more goals.

They got another opportunity in the 84th minute with Mohd Asnawi Syazni delivering a cross from the left, but Md Nur Syazwan couldn’t put his header on target.

However, time was not on their side and the Under-23 team could have added a consolation late into injury time but Mohd Asnawi Syazni’s shot met the side netting.

Najip head coach Johari Hj Bungsu played his cards right and was happy to stay unbeaten in the competition.

“We were trying to conserve energy in the first half and played more defensively as we know that fitness wise, Tabuan Muda were better,” said Johari in an interview with The Brunei Times 
“We managed to get one goal and that was the advantage we needed. We played the same style in the second half but we just took our chances.

“Credit to our goalkeeper too as he played well tonight (Wednesday night). 

“Overall we are just happy to pick up the three points and look to improve on our fitness,” continued Johari.

The competition continues tomorrow with Tabuan Muda up against IKLS FC at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas at 8.15pm.

The Brunei Times

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