Wijaya FC players in a team photo. – NFABD
BY Fadhil Yunus
WIJAYA FC hit the heights of second place in the DST Super League as a season-concluding 3-1 win over Setia Perdana at the Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex guaranteed them at least a top three finish. Wijaya moved three points clear of Kasuka FC, who dropped to third, and eradicated any faint hopes of either Kota Ranger FC or Indera SC of a late surge for a runners-up finish.
Kasuka, who have long challenged MS ABDB for the league title, have played a game less but must compound more misery to basement dwellers Najip FC to seal a runner-up finish.
Wijaya’s Jamrin bin Haji Johari delivered a dangerous cross into the box but a teammate could not make sufficient contact to trouble Setia Perdana goalkeeper Roslan bin Haji Rosli.
The men donned in their traditional sky blue returned to haunt the Setia Perdana defence as Norfariz bin Sayang nipped in front of his marker but the goalkeeper stayed firm to make a save.
Setia Perdana appeared to come even closer for the game’s opening goal after a hopeful ball from range almost caught the Wijaya camp by surprise when it landed on top of the crossbar.
Norfariz proved a constant threat in the box highlighted by a fierce effort in the box which was stopped by a Setia Perdana defender for a corner before his shot flashed wide.
After carving the Setia Perdana defence open, Wijaya took a deserved lead as Pengiran Anaqi Sufi bin Pengiran Haji Omar Baki rifled home from an unmissable position.
Setia Perdana’s Ali Shofian bin Haji Ali Akhbar nearly produced a wonder goal from within the opposition’s dugout after the ball travelled helplessly close to the roof of the net. However, a back-pedalling Wijaya goalkeeper Abdul Hafiz bin Abdul Rahim tipped the ball away to safety.
Wijaya’s Abdul Hanan bin Haji Abas took a good touch with the ball before releasing a shot only for the Setia Perdana defence to clear his goal-bound effort.
Wijaya, who set their sights on a repeat of a top three finish in 2016, squandered an invitation to engineer a double whammy to the DST FA Cup quarter finalists after an unmarked Marhazif bin Ahad could not keep his header on target.
Setia Perdana had a chance to get back into the game after forward Agus Haryono bursts forward but a shot which sliced wide marked an end to the threat. Wijaya doubled their lead two minutes before halftime after Abdul Hanan accompanied his neat take of the ball with a brilliant effort into the bottom corner.
Agus handed Setia Perdana a lifeline two minutes after the break before Abdul Hanan netted his second of the game and restored his team’s two-goal cushion in the 57th minute.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin