Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE national under-22 football team forced Malaysia to work hard for their 2-1 win in Group A of the 29th SEA Games last night.
The hosts had grabbed an early lead through Safawi Rasid but it was cancelled out soon after by Md Zulkhairy Razali at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia were on top most of the game but it took Adam Nor Azlin’s header on the hour mark to separate the two sides.
Malaysia got off to a perfect start to grab a fourth minute lead after Matthew Davies delivered a perfect cross from the right for Safawi to volley past Brunei custodian Haimie Anak Nyaring.
The Sultanate shocked the hosts eight minutes later after the Malaysian defence was caught napping.
Md Akif Roslan put a good ball over the top to send Zulkhairy through one-on-one with Malaysian shotstopper Ifwat Akmal.
The Indera SC forward then made no mistake to equalise with a shot from just inside the box.
Malaysia spent most of their time inside the Brunei half but just couldn’t finish off their opponents.
Md Adib Zainudin made a good run down the right before pulling the ball back to the middle but no one was there to tap it home five minutes before the interval.
Malaysia almost ended the opening half on a high but Safawi’s freekick came off the crossbar and Haimie was there to push the rebound out with two Malaysian players lurking.
Safawi continued where he left off at the start of the second half with a powerful shot from 25 yards out but Haimie was to his equal to parry the ball away.
Haimie put up another stop in the 57th minute to keep out Safawi’s shot on the turn.
The hosts went back in front on the hour mark after an unmarked Adam rose the highest to head home Safawi’s corner.
Minutes later, Ifwat was called into action having to keep out Suhaimi Anak Sulau’s long range freekick.
The hosts then took over the game with their opponents simply running out of steam.
Malaysia could have added to their tally but substitute S. Kumaahran headed over Davies’ cross before Syazwan Andik’s shot on target deflected off two Brunei players and out.
Brunei will next face Myanmar on Friday at the UiTM Stadium.
The earlier game yesterday saw Myanmar beat Singapore 2-0 at the Selayang Stadium.