Brunei 2 Timor Leste 1
Yangon: Timor Leste dramatically missed out on a spot in the Final Round of the AFF Suzuki Cup when they suffered a 2-1 loss to Brunei in the last match of the Qualification Round on Saturday.
With Laos held to a goalless draw by Myanmar in the day’s earlier game, Timor Leste only needed a draw at the Youth Training Centre in Yangon to advance but they fell behind to a fine solo effort by Adi Said after 16 minutes.
The Timorese struggled to turn their possession into goals and Azwan Ali Rahman fired home a second goal for Brunei in the 76th minute before Jesse Pinto cut the deficit three minutes later.
The Timorese pressed in vain for an equaliser in the closing minutes as Alan Leandro hit the woodwork but Brunei went on for the win which sent Laos through to the Final Round at the expense of the Timorese.
Qualification Group winners Myanmar will play in Group A with Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines while runners-up Laos will be in Group B with defending champions Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore for the Final Round next month.
While Timor Leste enjoyed the majority of possession early on, it was Brunei who had the best early chance as goalkeeper Emerson Cesario failed to hold on to a cross by Adi. The ball came out of the box to Affendy Akup but he fired his attempt wastefully over the crossbar.
The Wasps would however take the lead in the 16th minute after a clearance by Brunei goalkeeper Wardun Yusuf took an awkward bounce which allowed Adi to turn a defender and make a surging run from the halfway line. He managed to outpace the Timorese defence and then coolly slotted the ball past Emerson at the end of his 40-metre run.
Alan had a great chance to level the score three minutes later when he got on the end of a cross from the right but the big striker headed wide.
Haizul Rani Metusin went close to extending Brunei’s lead midway through the first half when he gathered the ball 25 metres from goal and fired in a long-range strike that Emerson did well to tip over his crossbar.
As the first half came to a close, Timor Leste began to look more dangerous and both Diogo Ranghel and Emilio Ribeiro both had chances to get their side level but shot wide.
The Timorese continued to apply the pressure after the break as Paulo Helber twice wasted opportunities, firing over the crossbar from 25 metres and then sending a low shot just wide of the left post, before Wellinto Rocha got his head to a Jesse Pinto free-kick but put his effort narrowly wide.
Brunei were restricted to rare forays up front but Najip Tarif should have done better when he was found along in front of goal in the 65th minute but stabbed his shot wide.
Alan then saw his low shot tipped wide by Wardun in the 70th minute and from the resulting corner by Pinto, Ramon de Lima got his head to the ball but directed it straight at the goalkeeper.
Azwan quandered a glorious opportunity to extend the lead when he shot wide with the goal at his mercy but he made no mistake in the 76th minute when Emerson failed to hold a shot by Rosmin Kamis which allowed him to nip in and fire home the rebound.
Timor Leste looked down and out but three minutes after Azwan’s goal, Pinto fired through a crowd of players in the box to cut the deficit back to a single goal.
They pressed for a second goal in the closing minutes but Alan hit the angle of crossbar and upright in stoppage time in their final chance of the game.