Adi Said (R) celebrates scoring Brunei's second goal against Singapore during their Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy match at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium last night. BT/ Faiq Airudin
Brunei defeated Singapore 3-1 in an action packed Group B match of the 5th Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) tournament last night.
Abdul Azim Abdul Rashid bagged a brace and Adi Said also found the net at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, his fourth goal of the tournament. Abdul Azim spearheaded the attack last night with Adi Said deployed as a wide striker on the right.
Goalkeeper Abdul Hafiz Abdul Rahim started ahead of Azman Ilham Hj Mohd Noor who was still recovering from an injury he suffered during Brunei's opening match against Cambodia on Friday. Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris was also back in the starting line-up, partnering Mohd Nurikhwan Othman in the middle of the park.
Brunei started off with a bang when Abdul Azim made a beautiful run to latch onto Mohd Hendra Azam's cross from the left and the striker dribbled past Singapore's goalkeeper before knocking the ball into the net in the second minute, sending the fans into frenzy. Mohd Hendra Azam whipped in another inviting pass just a few minutes later, this time for Adi, but Singapore goalkeeper Mohd Zharfan Rohaizad quickly got off his line to get onto the ball.
Mohd Nurikhwan linked-up well with Mohd Aminuddin Zakwan Tahir with their one-two passes moments later, the latter finding Mohd Asnawi Syazni Abdul Aziz unmarked near the post but the winger fired his shot wide. Singapore's Syed Amirul Haziq Syed Hamid was lucky to escape a punishment from referee Suhaizi Shukri after making a dangerous two-footed tackle on Suhaimi Sulau.
Mohd Aminuddin Zakwan missed the opportunity to add to Brunei's lead when he was given plenty of space to shoot following poor clearance from Singapore's defenders, but the winger's effort sailed over the bar. Brunei goalkeeper Abdul Hafiz produced a moment of brilliance when he was forced to make a one-handed diving save to keep out Ignatius Ang Yu Heng's effort at the half-hour mark.
Adi made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, blasting the ball past goalkeeper Mohd Zharfan. The striker capitalised on a mistake by centreback Mohd Shahrin Saberin who misjudged Mohd Azim's through pass into the penalty box.
Singapore's Mohd Irfan Asyraf picked striker Ang inside the penalty area with only Abdul Hafiz to beat, but the striker sent the ball over the bar. Singapore was totally outplayed in the second half. The Bruneians were gaining confidence and controlled the midfield with short one-two passes.
Singapore defenders found it hard to keep up with Adi and Abdul Azim's pace midway through the game and the latter scored his second of the night in the 68th minute. A pass from Mohd Nurikhwan from the midfield found Mohd Asnawi Syazni on the left. He sent in a low cross and Abdul Azim had the easy task of tapping the ball in.
Abdul Azim was taken off for winger Mohd Asri Hj Aspar with 15 minutes left to play. Mohd Hendra Azam tried his luck from distance but his shot was blocked by defender Mohd Shahrin. Najib Hj Tarif made his first appearance in the tournament coming on for Mohd Hendra Azam in the 80th minute.
Singapore scored a consolation in the 83rd minute when Yuz Henzry Mohd Jamil rose above everyone to head home from the left.