A deflated feeling for the players after the final whistle as Brunei bowed out of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, losing to Myanmar 1-0
Myanmar No.17 sealed the deal with a 35th minute strike. Image by Infofoto.
Timor Leste grabbed the final spot of the semi-final as Brunei failed to keep at least a draw, falling down to the defending champions Myanmar 1-0. The script was simple – to at least draw against Myanmar. Instead the visitor spoiled the party of a strong 25,000 crowd at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium last night.
Myanmar’s No.17 Zin Min Tun scored the only goal and eventually the match winner. It came from an effort from Myanmar’s No.9 Aung Kaung Mann whose shot was parried by Brunei’s keeper, Ishyra
Amin Jabidi, only for Zin Min Tun to slot it in with the keeper rooted from his spot in the 35th minute.
Myanmar rested one of their main strikers but that didn’t stop the visitors from creating chances after chances. They held the ball well and stretched Brunei’s defence and midfield as they easily found space by the wing area. Myanmar were simply superior in every department and they had more pace than our players.
Myanmar’s head coach Kyi Liwn was happy with the result and he felt the players did a tremendous job even with numerous chances being wasted. Scoring more goals wasn’t his objective but grinding out the points was his mission. He told his players to focus on the field and treat the cheers and voices from the stadium as if they were their fans.
As for Brunei Darussalam, it’s back to the drawing board as they are dumped out of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy and now looking ahead of other competitions. Brunei coach, Mario Riveira Campesino shared that Brunei showed that they have the talents and they will need to have more exposure, playing internationally to gain experience. He was in high praise for Myanmar for being able to hold possession and controlling the pace of the game.
To me, Brunei did show improvements from their first match against Timor Leste. If you ask me, it was the Timor Leste match that they should have won at least. However, the ball is round and anything can happen in football.
On a brighter side, I was pleased with the defensive display by Ak Yura Yunos who had numerous crucial interceptions throughout the 90 minutes. He was able to read the game and thwarted many attempts by the visitors. He was one of the busiest players on the field last night. Another person I should highlight is our own keeper, Asmin. He made the scoreline more respectable as Myanmar could have score more and closed the game away. Both players, Ak Yura and Asmin, deserved a big round of applause.
Brunei’s best chance came once again from captain Faiq Jefri Bolkiah. Myanmar failed to clear the ball in defence and Faiq only had the keeper to beat but guided his shot straight to Phone Thistar Min in the 50th minute. That could have been the equalizer for Brunei to qualify for the semi-finals. But it was not meant to be.
Brunei rarely threatened in the second half, only relying on half chances which was a tall order. Kudos to Myanmar for putting up a courageous and disciplined performance. They are now favourites along with Singapore to lift the HBT. Brunei bowed out with only three points from six games while Timor Leste squeezed in with four points. Myanmar topped the group with 7 points.
In the other match, Cambodia beat favourites Singapore 1-0 but both still qualify for the semi-finals. Lao DPR is eliminated from the tournament.
Now with Brunei Darussalam out of the equation, the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium won’t be the same when the semi-final match will take place this Wednesday. Economically, it won’t be good for business especially food and merchandise vendors. A lot of revenue were made from these said vendors whenever Brunei play at the national stadium.
I’m definitely gonna miss watching Brunei playing in front of an amazing crowd. It looks like another two year wait.
Another majestic display by Ak Yura Yunos in defence. My man of the match! Image by Infofoto
Captain Faiq Jefri Bolkiah showed moments of brilliance and could have scored in the 50th minute. Image by Infofoto
A confident keeper and only beaten once despite the surge of attacks from Myanmar
Standing up for the national anthem
The fans section
The fans section
A small section for Myanmar but they made an impactful presence
We will definitely miss the energetic crowd