PHNOM PENH • Brunei kicked off the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying round with an eight-minute blitz to seal a comeback victory over Timor Leste yesterday.
It was Timor Leste who went ahead as early as the 11th minute, when Rufino Walter Gama took advantage of a Brunei defensive error to score the opener.
However, their joy did not last long as Adi Said equalised by nodding the ball into the far post just 10 minutes later.
And in the 29th minute, Brunei were the ones celebrating after a moment of brilliance from Mohammad Shafie Mohd Effendy. He sprinted down the left, cut right and left past a defender before smashing in the goal that settled the match.
"It was a very tough game against Timor Leste. And if you had asked me before the match if we are going to win this one, I would not have been too sure of what to expect," said Brunei coach Mike Wong.
"We know that we can be competitive throughout the three games and this afternoon we came back later in the game to win the three points."
With only one team from four qualifying through to the final rounds, the three points are a vital step forward for Brunei.
Timor Leste coach Fabio Maciel bemoaned his side's loss but admitted it was their fault that they did not play well.
"Today we did not lose to Brunei but rather we lost this game to ourselves," he said.
"We were not playing the way we should be playing and this is something which we need to work on for the next game."
In last night's other game, Cambodia defeated Laos 2-1. Udom Prak Mony converted a penalty for the home side in the 42nd minute but Laos equalised seven minutes after the interval through Moukda Souksavath.
Chhin Chhoeun netted the winner in the 81st minute.
Timor Leste will face Laos next on Tuesday, while Cambodia will be up against Brunei.