Brunei slump to opening defeat against Indonesia

Caption: Muhammad Nur Aiman (L) and Firza Andika of Indonesia battle for the ball during their Group G math at the 2018 AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers in South Korea yesterday. Picture: Courtesy of Korea FA

Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

BRUNEI opened their Group F campaign at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship qualifiers in South Korea with a 5-0 defeat to Indonesia yesterday.

The result is an improvement from their last meeting where the Sultanate lost 8-0 at the AFF Under-19 Championship in Myanmar on Sept 14.

Goals by Muhammad Rafli Mursalim, Muhammad Iqbal, Egy Maulana Vikri, Saddil Ramdani and an own goal courtesy of Hariz Herman helped Indonesia top Group F ahead of second-placed Malaysia, who defeated Timor Leste 3-1 in the other match.

Indonesia started brightly and got ahead in the 13th minute through Muhammad Rafli's header at the Paju Public Stadium.

Hariz scored an embarassing own goal after heading the ball into his own net following Egy Maulana’s effort to give Indonesia a two-goal lead going into the second-half.


Indonesian players celebrate against Brunei. Picture: Courtesy of Korea FA

Indonesia continued their dominance, keeping Brunei at their own half throughout the game.

Muhammad Iqbal scored with a beautiful shot five minutes into the second half before Egy Maulana and substitute Saddil found the back of the net in the 55th and 60th minutes respectively.

Brunei were desperate not to concede any more goals and put all their players to defend until the final whistle.

"We recognised the match against Indonesia would be a tough challenge," Brunei head coach Takao Fujiwara told the AFC.

"In the first half my players did their best to keep the stalemate, but failed.

"The next game will be more challenging, but we will keep fighting to reach our goal," added the Japanese.

Brunei will next face hosts South Korea at the same venue tomorrow.

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