Braces from Azizi Ali Rahman and Muhammad Razimie Ramli have handed Brunei Darussalam a decisive 6-2, first leg, lead over Timor-Leste in the Qualification Round of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022.

Mouzinho grabbed a goal in first half stoppage time to reduce the deficit before second half strikes from Razimie and Jhon Frith for the visitors had things on a knife’s edge at 3-2 with less than 20 minutes to play.

A three-goal blitz then turned the tie on its head though as substitute Azwan Salleh, defender Wafi Aminuddin and Razimie all scored to complete a breathless first leg win.

In front of a large crowd at the Track and Field Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex the hosts started brightly with a couple of early chances from set-piece situations testing the visiting defence.

It was a delightful ball from deep inside his own half from the impressive Hakeme Yazid that released Azizi to slide past the onrushing Junildo and put Brunei in front in the 18th minute.

After a brief spell where Timor pushed forward and carved out a couple of half chances it was the hosts that doubled the lead in the 33rd minute as a corner from the right was flicked on by defender Nurikhwan Othman to Azizi who volleyed home his second from close range.

That prompted the unusual sight of a 36th minute double substitution from Timor-Leste and it was a move that paid off in the first minute of stoppage time as one of the new arrivals, Olagar Xavier, sent a teasing cross in from the right that was met by captain Mouzinho to reduce the deficit to a single goal heading into the break.

The visitors very nearly drew level less than sixty seconds after the restart as another substitute in Mario Donasio forced a sharp save from close range from Brunei keeper Haimie Nyaring.

Brunei squandered a golden chance to extend their lead in the 54th minute as two players arriving late at the back post couldn’t connect with a well weighted cross from captain Hendra Azam before Timor’s Zenivio Mota saw a deflected effort fly wide shortly afterwards.

The hosts then restored the two-goal buffer as a long goal kick was flicked on from Hakeme to Razimie who brushed off the challenge of Juvito Moniz to finish calmly and make it 3-1 just shy of the hour.

Five minutes later, one of the stars of Timor-Leste’s previous AFF Championship campaign, Jhon Frith, then rifled home a brilliant shot from distance after a smart cutback from Olagar Xavier once again in what was becoming an end to end affair.

The goals continued to flow as two substitutes combined to make it 4-2 with just over a quarter of an hour remaining as a surging run and cross from the right from Adi Said was powered home from the top of the six yard box by Azwan Salleh.

Brunei then took a huge stride towards qualification for the tournament proper as firstly  powerful defender Wafi Aminuddin headed home a corner from the right in the 89th minute before Razimie grabbed his second of the afternoon, heading home a deep cross from the left, in the third minute of stoppage time to put an exclamation point on an impressive display from the home side.