NAYPYITAW (10 Dec 2013) – Malaysia were made to slog by Brunei before they were able to score a hard-earned 2-0 win in their opening Group A match of the men’s football event here at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium.
The defending champions going into the tournament as the two-time winners of the biennial championship were always under pressure even though they had several first-choice players on the crock list.
But the Malaysians pushed hard against a Brunei side determined to show that they are better than the 7-0 thrashing they suffered at the hands of Vietnam in the group opener two days ago.
In the seventh minute, striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman received a cross from Zubir Azmi, but his shot went well wide as Brunei’s Adi Said then replied with a header that went off following a cross from Azuwan Ali Rahman.
Not too long afterwards, Adi was again in the thick of the action but he shot to the side netting instead as the Malaysia replied off Ashri Chuchu which was blocked by Brunei custodian Mohd Nur Aqamaddin Salehuddin.
But while Mohd Nur had an excellent game, there was no stopping Malaysia from scoring the lead in the 30th minute when Rozaimi (pix) fired in the cross from Irfan Fazail.
Into the second half, Brunei stick to the same game plan to catch the Malaysians on the break but unfortunately neither Azwan nor Adi could find the target despite the few chances they were delivered.
Malaysia’s sustained pressure allowed them to score their second of the game when Ashri fired in from the edge of the box.