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Monday, November 19, 2012

Muara Vella FC lift Veteran FA Cup FOOTBALL

Muara Vella FC manager Mohammad Hj Tunjang (L) and captain Sabtu Hj Yahya (C) receiving the Veteran FA Cup trophy from National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam general secretary Mohd Noor Hj Abdullah yesterday. Picture: BT/Jason Thomas 
Monday, November 19, 2012

MUARA Vella FC lifted their second trophy of the year by prevailing 4-3 over Semaun Veteran in a penalty shootout after a gritty 1-1 end to their Veteran FA Cup final yesterday.

The result must come as a bitter pill to swallow for Semaun after losing out on the DST Group 3rd President Cup National Veteran Football League in June to Muara Vella as well, the 'Red Giants of Brunei' coming out 3-2 victors on that occasion.

But Muara Vella must certainly feel they deserve their nickname after yesterday's win at the Meragang Sixth Form Centre's football field, the victory proving once and for all that the club which enjoys a rich 16-year history, a rarity for Brunei is a force to be reckon with in local veteran competition.

Muara Vella took the lead in the 20th minute when Budin Apong ran on to a through-ball and rounded the Semaun goalkeeper, much to the delight of the strong contingent of vocal Muara Vella fans.

Semaun would reply eight minutes later though, Mohd Sadiy Abdullah running past Muara Vella's right-back and blasting the ball to the top-left corner.

Muara Vella looked to have the better of the chances in the rest of the first half but failed to break down an organised Semaun defence in the sweltering heat.

Neither team were able to stamp their mark in the second-half and there were few clear-cut chances, though Muara Vella had the best opportunity to make it 2-1 when hitting the crossbar late in the game.

As the grey skies turned into rain in the dying minutes of the match, it became obvious the tie would have to be decided on penalties. Semaun step up to the plate first and easily converted their shot, taking a 1-0 lead after Muara Vella missed their penalty.

Both teams made their next two attempts to set the scores at 3-2, and saves by both goalkeepers meant it would be Semaun who had the chance to seal the deal with their last penalty.

Unfortunately for the taker, he missed his chance, and Muara Vella didn't forcing the the penalties into sudden-death with the scores set at 3-3.

Muara Vella's goalkeeper saved the next shot and the team's fans, who thought they had won, prematurely rushed onto the field not realising they had another penalty to take.

After some discussion with the referee, they were forced back to the sidelines but they were soon back on the pitch and celebrating in the rain when their player converted his attempt.

"Our veteran team has certainly achieved a lot this year," smiled Muara Vella manager Mohammad Hj Tunjang.

"Though we were not fully-fit for this match, our teamwork helped us play well.

"I was confident we could win when the match went to penalties because we have a good goalkeeper in Zulkifli Hj Masri and we have good penalty-takers," he added.

Muara Vella received a trophy, medals and $300 while Semaun took home a trophy, medals and $200. National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam general secretary Mohd Noor Hj Abdullah presented the prizes to both teams.

The Brunei Times

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