| Fadhil Yunus |
MS ABDB survived a late scare to move into the quarterfinals of the Brunei DST FA Cup 2016 following a 3-2 victory in extra time over Al Idrus Junior FT at the Berakas Sports Complex last night.
The army personnel were staring elimination in the face and their proud history of appearing in every final in the competition on the line until Razimie Ramlli produced a last-gasp equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time to save his team’s blushes.
The national striker ultimately scored the winner not only to avoid penalties but send his team through to the last eight.
Md Yaakub Kassim goal in the 25th minute looked to have given the league newcomers, who must looked back how far they have grown since playing at the depths of non-league football just a year ago, an unlikely win.
MS ABDB fielded a nearly full strength squad with the exception of Brunei Darussalam striker Azizi Ali Rahman, who was suspended.
Three national players who were called into the national squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers and AFC Solidarity Cup expectedly featured in the first team including goalkeeper Mohd Tarmizi Haji Mat Johari, Mohd Baharin Hamidon and Razimie Ramlli.
Al Idrus, meanwhile, left their experienced striker Adie Arsham Muhd Salleh on the bench.
The Brunei DST Premier League champions never really touched let alone kept the ball owing to the bulk of possession that MS ABDB enjoyed.
The Al Idrus goalkeeper was assisted by an organised defence as MS ABDB could not really meet the target though they had close shaves with forcing an equaliser.
The disciplinary column showed offences not related to injury but for unprofessional behaviour foul. As Razimie barged into a clearly annoyed Awangku Ammar Syafie Pengiran Hassanuddin, the Al Idrus player slammed the ball into the ground prompting the referee to flash him the yellow card.
Not long after, Baharon Hamidon got into the books of the referee after allegedly directing a kick to Al Idrus goalkeeper.
When the match official indicated five minutes of injury time, there was a concerned look in the Al Idrus camp and understandably so as they were put under constant pressure.
Still, Al Idrus were within seconds of a major upset with time ticking out for the defending champions but Razimie Ramlli planted a header from a corner which was more than they deserved.
The Brunei international was then shown the yellow card for removing his shirt but it was understandably so as he had just saved his team from a premature exit in the competition.
Just to put the scale of the upset into perspective, MS ABDB have appeared in every final since the inception of the competition in 2002 and have won it every time it was contested since the 2005/06 season.
Al Idrus retook the lead in the 94th minute through Adie Arsham but Baharin Hamidon levelled the tie for the second time in the 99th minute.
With penalties loomed, Razimie scored in the 119th minute and this time there were no time for the Al Idrus players to come back.
MS ABDB have three days of rest before they face Kota Ranger FC in the quarterfinals this Sunday at the Berakas Sports Complex.