KBZ FC 2 (Soe Min Oo 3’, Tercio Nunez (pen.) 60’)
Woodlands 1 (Moon Soon Ho (pen.) 64’)
In the space of two days, two foreign teams progressed to the quarter-finals of the RHB Singapore Cup at the expense of two local teams at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Last night, 1,560 fans witnessed KBZ FC from Myanmar defeat local side, Woodlands Wellington to book their place in the last eight of the competition.
Buoyed by the presence of their fans who had turned up in numbers and packed the left-hand section of the grandstand, KBZ got off to a flying start as they took the lead after just three minutes into the game through Soe Min Oo who went on to play an important part in his side’s victory.
Playing a quick one-two on the edge of the area, he dribbled into the area all by himself before pulling a shot which took a heavy deflection before beating the wrong-footed Ahmadulhaq Che Omar at his near post.
Moon Soon Ho, who was isolated for most parts of the game then almost leveled the scores for Woodlands two minutes after the opener but could only drag his low shot inches wide before winger Goh Swee Swee sent his weal shot straight at KBZ’s ‘keeper Kyaw Zon Htet. It was all KBZ for the remainder of the first half as they carved out chances after chances to try further extend their lead but just lacked the finishing touch.
The first of many chances came on 18 minutes after captain Han Win Aung’s cross found its way to Tercio Nunez but the 34-year-old could only poke his shot wide. Woodlands’ left-back Duncan Elias then lost out to a challenge two minutes later and allowed Nunez to race past him to cut the ball back for Mai Aik Niang who could only fire straight at Ahmadulhaq.
Woodlands were then lucky not to have gone two down on the 20th-minute mark after Danny Chew miscued his clearance from three yards out. Fortunately for the defender, there was no white shirt near him to punish him for his mistake. Charles Obi then sent a diving header wide on the edge of the six yard box a minute later.
The last piece of action in the first half saw Charles Obi’s effort from the edge of the area smothered by Ahmadulhaq at his near post on 37 minutes.
Trailing by a goal at the break, the Rams looked determined to find an equalizer when play resumed but found themselves in further trouble on the hour mark as they conceded a penalty which was duly converted by Tercio Nunez after Woodlands’ Danny Chew had tripped the lively Soe Min Oo from behind.
Woodlands then reduced the deficit four minutes later when Korean Moon Soon Ho was brought down by KBZ’s custodian Kyaw Zin Htet in the box. Moon picked himself up before sending Kyaw the wrong way, blasting the spot kick into the top corner but it proved to be the only consolation for the Rams.
Despite late attempts by Woodlands to find the equalizer which would have taken the game into extra-time, they eventually ran out of time and bowed out of the competition at the preliminary round.
The victorious KBZ will now meet Loyola Meralco Sparks of Philippines in the quarterfinals of the RHB Singapore Cup, scheduled to be played in July this year.
It was a poor showing from the Rams in the first half as they allowed the KBZ players to run at them and had no answer to their opponents' passing game. While Woodlands did improve in the second half, they still failed to contain KBZ’s slick passing game and lapses of concentration in the defence did not help either as Woodlands were lucky not to have lost by a larger margin.
“In the first half, we were lethargic. For whatever reason, only the players know. We just switched off the minute we went onto the field,” remarked a visibly disappointed Clement Teo, assistant to Rams’ head coach Salim Moin.
“Basically, they were not going… In the sense whereby going in for tackles, going after the players and off the ball (movement),” Teo added.
On the lack of communication where his team almost gifted their opponents a couple of soft goals, Teo said: “No, it’s not a big problem because we just don’t want to communicate and they created the problems themselves! You just have to learn how to communicate (with your teammates).”
“It happens not only in local football, it happens everywhere in the world.”
Teo highlighted the importance of versatility after a question was asked about the decision to deploy Hussein Akil in a deep-lying midfield role, instead of his usual position upfront.
“Being a footballer myself, I think versatility is very important in football.”
P. N. Sivaji: “I’m happy with the win.”
“Yes, I’m very happy with the win. A win is always sweet,” a delighted P. N. Sivaji said after the win.
The former national team and Home United coach however felt that his side did lose concentration during the game and that work has to be done to rectify them.
“There were moments in the game where we lost concentration, playing to the gallery… Not slowing down the game to stop Woodlands’ attacking rhythm especially in the second half. And these are problems we will need to work on in training.”
Looking ahead, he said: “We have about six weeks (to prepare for the next Cup game) and hopefully when we come (to Singapore) in July for the quarterfinals, we will be better prepared.”
KBZ FC: Kyaw Zin Htet (GK); Han Win Aung (C), Win Min Htut, Nyarna Lwin, Samuel Hanson; Mai Aik Niang (Zin Myo Aung 63’), Thein Than Win (Nay Win Aung 71’), Hla Aye Htwe, Tercio Nunez; Charles Obi (Khaing Zaw Tun 84’), Soe Min Oo Unused subs: Aye San, Kyaw Kyaw Myo, Zaw Myo Min, Yawai Zin
Woodlands Wellington: Ahmadulhaq Che Omar (GK); Danny Chew, Duncan Elias, Fabien Lewis, Daniel Hammond (C); Goh Swee Swee (K Sathiaraj 82’), Shamsurin Rahman, Aloysius Yap, Farizal Basri (Han Yi Guang 55’), Hussein Akil (Edward Tan 88’); Moon Soon Ho Unused subs:, Ang Bang Heng, Ali Razali, Sidiq Abdullah, Zulkarnian Malik
Yellow card(s): Samuel Hanson, Zin Myo Aung (Kanbawza FC); Danny Chew (Woodlands Wellington)
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