Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud with the players. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS
BY Fadhil Yunus
Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) emerged champions of the Piala Keputeraan 2019 after they recovered from a goal down to beat Ministry of Defence (MinDef) 2-1 in a dramatic final at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night (Sunday night).
Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud was the guest of honour in the final and prize presentation ceremony.
Also present was the Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof.
In the early stages of the match, Prime Minister’s Office forward Muhammad Nadzrin bin Abdullah drove forward and forced a good stop from Ministry of Defence’s goalkeeper Romaino bin Maripa.
PMO, whose only defeat came in their opening group match against Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE), were rescued from a goal-line clearance as the MinDef seemed certain to score through a header.
Ministry of Defence spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead after attacker Mohd Fadhli bin Haji Awang Salleh skied his effort having been teed up by a teammate in the box.
However, Mohd Fadhli atoned for his earlier miss as he scored the opening goal of the game. The forward latched onto a fine through ball and coolly slotted home past the Prime Minister’s Office goalkeeper Pengiran Muhammad Muizzuddin bin Pengiran Ismail.
The goal-scorer set his sights to double his side’s lead when he cut inside a defender but he angled his shot wide after being fed by a teammate in the box.
The Prime Minister’s Office had a half-hearted chance to go back into level terms in first half injury time after a player pulled his header wide.
PMO’s Norfaez bin Awang Sayang’s free-kick looked to have nestled in the top corner but Ministry of Defence’s goalkeeper Romaino tipped the ball away to safety.
MinDef survived a scare as PMO nearly pulled level after Awangku Muhammad Abdul Halim bin Pengiran Haji Hassan’s effort rattled against the crossbar.
PMO came close in finding the leveller as Abdul Azim bin Abdul Rasid struck straight at the goalkeeper from close range before another effort launched wide.
The MinDef personnel had been warned with Abdul Azim’s attacking threat and the forward demonstrated his abilities after firing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Just moments later, the Ministry of Defence nearly provided an immediate response but substitute Md Hariz Danial bin Haji Khallidden blazed his effort wide.
The PMO attack looked very dangerous in the final third and a winner arrived as Muhammad Saifuddin bin Haji Abdul Razak slid in from a short pass to help his side into the lead.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Saifuddin bin Haji Abdul Razak and Pengiran Muhd Muizzuddin bin Pengiran Ismail received the Best Player and Best Goalkeeper award.
Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Md Asri bin Aspar and Ministry of Home Affairs’ Maududi Hilmi bin Kasmi were named joint top scorers with 11 goals.
Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs finished in joint third place.
Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office presented prizes to the winners and the runners-up.
Minister of Defence II presented prizes to joint third place and other individual award winners.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin