Azwan Salleh - Brunei's own free-kick specialist


ASK Azwan Salleh how he came up with the magnificent curling 30m free-kick which sealed DPMM FC's 2-0 win over Geylang United FC in the Singapore League Cup, and you'll get the inevitable answer.

"It was all luck," said the midfielder, who also provided the cross for Shahrazen Said's opener on Saturday night.

"I do practice it in training ... to hit the posts.

"For the first goal? I just blasted it into the box," he said of his pass from the left.

Shahrazen put DPMM FC ahead in the 36th minute with a low header off Azwan's cross, but the latter's 76th minute free-kick which bounced off both posts and into the goal was the more memorable of the two.

It wasn't the first time he had produced such a memorable free-kick the effort was a carbon copy of the one he struck in injury-time to hand DPMM FC a 1-0 win over Young Lions in the Singapore League in April.

Shahrazen, who leads the team in goals with eight but had not scored since bagging a brace in their 5-1 win against Hougang United FC, felt he was just as lucky to have netted.

"I'm really grateful for the goal, I never thought I would score especially in the final," said the ever-humble striker yesterday.

"I hadn't scored in a long time. It was my only goal in the Singapore League Cup so I'm happy with it," added the Malaysian Super League's joint top-scorer during the 2006/2007 season.

Though Geylang did not get on the scoresheet, they were the more dangerous side throughout the 90 minutes.

They laid siege to Wardun Yussof's goal in the second half but a mix of organised defending, dodgy referring and bad luck meant it was the visitors who would find the net.

Paying tribute to Geylang, who beat S-League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) FC and second-placed Tampines Rovers FC en-route to the final, Shahrazen admitted the win was never really secure until the final whistle.

Azwan's goal, though, did give them some breathing room.

"I just felt less pressure when Azwan scored ... No stress," said Shahrazen.

"I was more confident when we got the second goal," added Azwan, who captained the country at last year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia. The Brunei Times
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