| Fadhil Yunus |
REIGNING Brunei DST Super League champions MS ABDB began their title defence with a win after beating Wijaya FC 2-0 at the Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.
The army’s striking assassin Azizi Ali Rahman started from the bench but the holders already inflicted damage with goals from Mohd Baharin Hamidon and Affendy Haji Akup in the first half enough to give manager Major (A) Razanol Hardi Abd Razak’s men all three points.
Holding a goal lead through Baharin’s 18-minute strike, the army side upped their tempo as Affendy showed his determination to claim the ball from the Wijaya’s back four before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.
MS ABDB showed a declaration of intent to cause further mayhem highlighted by an individual move demonstrated by Razimie Ramli injecting pace and surging forward but his shot was parried away by Wijaya’s shot-stopper Mohd Azree Rahim.
Apart from the two incidents where MS ABDB breached Wijaya’s goal, their long-time foes did produce a resolute defence and restricted the champions to a lack of clear-cut opportunities.
Wijaya closed down space in numbers which forced Adey Shariduan Haji Johari to rush his shot but ended haplessly wide.
It was not straightforward to say the least in the second half for the league holders with Wijaya in rampant mood in search of a lifeline and provided a stern warning of their own.
Wijaya’s Awangku Anaqi Sufi Pengiran Omar Baki retrieved the ball on the box before threading a pass to Khalil Saab whose shot was deflected for a corner.
However, the army personnel were agonisingly close to add a third after goal-scorer Mohd Baharin nearly turned provider after teeing up Mohd Aliuddin Awang Haji Basar whose attempt was diverted away by a busy Azree for a corner.
MS ABDB endured an injury setback after Mohd Fadhli Haji Awang Salleh had to be stretchered off with what suspected to be muscle trauma following a wild collision.
Azizi Ali Rahman nearly opened his account for the new season after winning a duel with Azree but his shot was saved on the line by Suhaimi Anak Sulau.
MS ABDB may have registered all three points but Major (A) Razanol acknowledged Wijaya for their never-say-die attitude especially for most of the second half.
The other league match witnessed a goal galore with Najip I Team providing a warm welcome to newly promoted Kasuka FC in a 5-0 demolition at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex.
Meanwhile at the Batu Apoi Sports Complex, Jasriman’s 10th minute penalty gave visitors MS PDB a winning start in a 1-0 win against Lun Bawang.