Former Singapore coach P N Sivaji’s KBZ outfit holds off Woodlands to set up quarter-final clash with Filipino side Loyola Meralco SparksCheered on by a large contingent of Burmese supporters, Myanmar National League side KBZ FC managed to hold off S.League strugglers Woodlands Wellington 2-1 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
KBZ drew first blood as early as the third minute when forward Soe Min Oo easily shrugged off the attentions of two Woodlands defenders and unleashed a fierce shot just inside the box that took a deflection and wrong-footed Woodlands keeper Ahmadulhaq Che Omar in the process.
Woodlands tried to hit back unsuccessfully two minutes later when Korean forward Moon Soon Ho dragged an angled shot just wide of goal after Farizal Basri’s long ball.
Goh Swee Swee had another ambitious long-range attempt on seven minutes but that was all they could muster in the first 45, as KBZ took total control of the proceedings with their slick movement and passing.
Brazilian midfielder Tercio Nunez flicked just over from captain Han Win Aung’s cross on 16 minutes, and he turned provider two minutes later when he set up right winger Mai Aik Naing for a feeble shot that went into Ahmadulhaq’s arms.
The chances kept on coming; a KBZ long ball on 20 caught out Woodlands skipper Daniel Hammond at the back as his fluffed clearance resulted in Nigerian forward Charles Obi stealing in just ahead of the onrushing Ahmadulhad, but his lob landed just wide of the mark.
Obi headed wide five minutes later, while Mai scuffed his close-range shot on 30 after a defensive mistake from Fabien Lewis.
KBZ held the lead till the break and it was nearly a case of deja vu a minute upon the restart.
Goalscorer Soe yet again broke free and let fly a deflected shot from range that Ahmadulhad had to be alert to tip away.
On 60 minutes, the inevitable happened as KBZ managed to go two-up. An Obi shot was inexplicably deflected into the path of Soe just in front of goal, leaving rookie Woodlands defender Danny Chew with no choice but to trip him from behind.
Veteran Nunez stepped up and coolly sent Ahmadulhaq the wrong way from the spot.
However Woodlands managed to find a lifeline out of nothing three minutes later.
Moon’s persistence on chasing down a long ball pressued KBZ defender Samuel Henson into losing the ball at the byline and got himself into a one-on-one with goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Htet, with the latter having to pull him down.
He dusted himself up and duly slammed the resulting spotkick past the wrongfooted Kyaw.
Despite having almost half an hour to chase the lost cause, Woodlands could not breach the KBZ defence once again to get that crucial equalizer.
Goh Swee Swee and Moon earn free kicks in dangerous positions but the resulting deliveries was duly repelled by the KBZ defenders.
Hammond was pushed up to support Moon in attack, and earned a freekick 30 yards from goal just before the end of regulation time but substitute Edward Tan could only look on agonizingly as his effort went just wide of goal, leaving his side out of the Singapore Cup.