Jovan Marfiga (C) runs past a
national Under-15 player (R)
during their Football Association
of Malaysia (FAM)-Frenz Under-15
ASEAN Champions Trophy Group B
game on Saturday. Picture: BT/Md
While the national Under-15 team were perhaps lucky to leave the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas with only a 3-0 loss to Philippines Global FC Under-15 on Saturday night, the visitor's win was certainly no fluke.
The Filipinos headed into the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)-Frenz Under-15 ASEAN Champions Trophy Group B tie without a point in four games, but one wouldn't have guessed that judging from the way they played.
They wrecked havoc on the hosts' defence with dangerous runs down either flank and were up 2-0 after half an hour, with a 63rd minute strike firmly putting them in the driver's seat and relegating Brunei to the bottom of the six-team table.
"I'd have to say that our team shape, especially in attack, won us the game," noted Philippines Global FC Under-15 coach Andres Crisanto Gonzales.
"We played well, stuck to our game plan and took our chances when he had them in the first half.
"We could have played a bit better in the second half but it is hard to train the players since they come from different provinces in the Philippines," Gonzales added.
The result prolongs Brunei's hunt for their first win of the competition after notching one draw and two losses in their previous three games.
There were several positives for Brunei to take from the match though.
The team had a strong work ethic and never stopped running, with several players in particular shining for the hosts.
Goalkeeper Muhd Ishyra Asmin Mohd Jabidi was a stable presence inside his box while captain Abdul Matin Norazlan did well to deal with any threats heading his way in defence.
Naziruddin Hj Ismail's dribbles did cause some problems when he was shifted to a more advanced attacking role in the second half, and Muhamad Syahmi Rasyid proved to be a menace for Philippines Global FC Under-15 with some good runs into the box.
"Brunei have some flashy players and good dribblers who are confident on the ball," said Gonzales when asked what he thought of the hosts.
"I think of all the teams in our group, Brunei is the only one we can match up to in terms of speed and strength," he added.
Brunei's next game is against Lao Toyota FC tomorrow.