National Under-23 striker Muhd
Shafie Hj Muhd Efendy (front)
tries to dribble past MS
ABDB's Sld Abd Aziz Ali
Rahman during their Six
Corner Invitation Football
Championship 2013 match last
night. Picture: BT/Saiful Omar
Striker Muhd Shafie Hj Muhd Efendy helped the 10-man national Under-23 team edge the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB) 1-0 in their first match of the Six Corners Football Championship last night after scoring before later getting sent off.
The national Under-23 team were already without coach Kwon Oh-son, who is currently in the United Kingdom to continue his programme in obtaining a "P" coaching license, when they faced the army men at the Berakas Sports Complex while some other key players were also out injured.
And with Muhd Shafie sent to an early shower by referee Mohammad Hasrin Hj Samat in the 70th minute after being booked twice, the Under-23 team spent the remaining minutes defending their 1-0 lead.
The Under-23 side are currently preparing for the upcoming 27th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar in December and lost 1-0 to the Indonesian national Under-23 team in a friendly at Yogyakarta two weeks ago, with this week's all-local, six-team Six Corners Football Championship serving as more preparation ahead of Myanmar.
"It was a very good game, both teams played very well but we played better," noted caretaker coach Zainuddin Hj Kassim in an interview with The Brunei Times after the match.
"We had a lot of chances in the first-half but were very wasteful in front of the goal. In the second-half, we played much better and scored early.
"There were still so many areas the players need to improve on, and one of them is their touches. They still need to polish that up," added the coach.
Despite missing several key players such as centre-backs Afi Aminuddin and Azwan Hamzah, who were still nursing injuries after the friendly game against Indonesia, the national Under-23 side fared very well against the organised MS ABDB team.
Muhd Shafie came close to scoring on a few occasions but was denied every turn by MS ABDB goalkeeper Mohd Tarmizi Hj Mat Johari.
Midfielder Asri Hj Aspar and former MS ABDB player Mazazizi Mazlan also came close to scoring late in the first-half, but both their attempts were brilliantly saved by Mohd Tarmizi.
MS ABDB started the second half strongly with striker Muhd Fadhli Hj Mohd Salleh testing goalkeeper Ak Omar Nur Aqamaddin with a long-range shot, but the latter tipped the ball over the bar.
Muhd Shafie finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when he scored from close range following a scramble inside the penalty box.
MS ABDB replied immediately a minute later with a swift counter attack when midfielder Mohd Budiman Hj Jumat set Muhd Fadhli through inside the penalty box, but the striker would fire his shot just wide.
Last night's other match saw Royal Brunei Police Forces Sports Council (MS PDB) defeat the national Under-19 team 2-1 at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
The tournament continues tomorrow with the Under-23 team taking on Indera Sports Club (SC) at the Balapan Track and Field, while the Under-19 team go up against the Liang Lumut Recreational Club Football Team (LLRC FT).
This tournament is the first of its kind this year and its main purpose is to provide the national Under-23 and Under-19 teams with match experience ahead of key regional meets.
The Under-19 team will be competing at the Asean Football Federation Under-19 Youth Championships in Indonesia next month and October's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 tournament in Thailand.