Kota Junior, Kuantan Rangers in thrilling Exhibition Match
Sunday, April 16, 2017
KOTA Junior beat Kuantan Rangers 3-2 in a thrilling exhibition match at the Indoor Stadium, Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex, on Saturday.
It was the first game against international opponents for both sides, and two-time defending Brunei Futsal League (BFL) champions Kota Junior and Malaysian newcomers Kuantan Rangers did not disappoint after the game sprung to life in the second-half.
The match was attended by Yang Amat Mulia Tengku Ariff Temenggong Pahang Tengku Arif Mua’dzam Shah Ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Haji Mohd Noor Jusmin bin Haji Abdul Samad, National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam Acting Vice President Haji Madli bin Haji Mohd Yusof and other senior officials from the ministry and NFABD.
Kuantan Rangers, who were formed in November, controlled the start of the game and limited Kota Junior to counter-attacks.
They came closest to scoring when they hit the post mid-way through the first half in which both teams were testing each other out.
Both clubs found it hard to break down their opponents’ organised defense, and in the end, a mistake from Kuantan Rangers’ goalkeeper led to the game’s first goal.
The Malaysians’ goalkeeper was caught out of position when he lost possession while dribbling outside the box, and when a Kuantan Rangers player handled the ball while defending his goal, Mohammad Nor Azizam Roslam made no mistake from the ensuing penalty.
Kuantan Rangers’ Ahmad Harith Naim Mohd Nasir equalised seconds later with a sharp shot from the right, only for Kota Junior to retake the lead three minutes later when Mohammad Faiz @ Fayz Hasnan beat the Kuantan Rangers goalkeeper during a one-on-one.
Kota Junior grew in confidence and netted their third goal when an open Mohammad Faiz scored again after a pass from Nur Yamin Hj Muhammad.
However, Kuantan Rangers were determined not to go down without a fight and made it a tense final few minutes for Kota Junior when captain Mohd Akhmall Abdullah unleashed a strong shot from outside the box to make it 3-2.
Kota Junior assistant coach Mohd Sahan Mumtazali credited Kuantan Rangers for giving them a strong test ahead of their bid to defend their BFL title.
“We were up against a strong team from Pahang and they managed to disorient us and our position of play - but we didn’t lose focus. We need more friendlies like this,” he said
“We were able to learn from our mistakes and motivate ourselves as the game progressed.
“Despite letting in the equaliser just seconds after we scored, we didn’t let it affect us. We stayed strong mentally and the players didn’t give up,” he added.
Kuantan Rangers coach Mohammad Faizul Abdul Gaffar was satisfied with his players’ performance despite the loss.
“We didn’t know much about Kota Junior. We just knew they were good - so our job was to fight,” he said.
“Our players are still gelling with each other, but I am pleased to say that they have been improving from game to game and they have progressed well,” he added.