Myanmar joined Indonesia in the semifinals of the AFF Under-18 Next Media Cup 2019 from Group A when they beat Brunei DS in the final game of the evening that was played at the Binh Duong Stadium.
With Indonesia having confirmed their passage to the next round earlier in the day, courtesy of a late recourse which saw them getting the better of Laos 2-1, Myanmar’s win gave ensured that both teams are on the same 12 points from the same number of games played.
“The important thing is that we managed to reach our target which is to make the semi-finals,” said Myanmar head coach Soe Myat Min. “Now we will have an important game against Indonesia next.”
Brunei went into the match at the back of three previous losses and while not much was expected from them, still the Sultanate side was not deterred as they kept their opponent’s at bay with some hard defending.
Pyae Phyo Aung dribbling run was quickly stopped by Brunei’s recovering defensive line while some moments later, Myanmar had a goal disallowed for offside.
Phyo Aung continued to be a thorn on Brunei’s defence while on the opposite end, Brunei’s Rozandy Bujang was just not well supported as the lone striker.
But with the score still tied at the half, Myanmar finally found the back of the net ten minutes after the restart when Aung Ko Oo ran in from the right that was blasted into goal by Phyo Aung.
And in the 73rd minute, Moe Swe pounced on a poor clearance from Brunei keeper Mohamad Riyan Jali for the second goal to put Myanmar comfortable ahead.
With the win, Myanmar will have to wait in two days to see who will finish at the top of Group A when they take on Indonesia in the final game of the preliminary round.
On the other hand, Indonesia made sure of their continued place at the top of Group A when they came back from a goal down to beat Laos 2-1 at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
The three points on the day at the Thong Nhat Stadium ensured Indonesia a perfect four out of four matches following wins over the Philippines, Timor Leste and then Brunei DS.
“Laos were very disciplined in their defending and that made it really hard for us. They had five players upfront and then the other five were disciplined at the back,” said Indonesia head coach Fakhri Hussaini.
“But the players responded well and today we got the points we wanted.”
Whether it was the weather or otherwise, both Indonesia and Laos seemed to be struggling under the afternoon sun as neither were pushing too hard in search of the early goal.
And with Indonesia seemingly disjointed even with the talent of Aminuddin Bagus Alfikri leading the attack, head coach Fakhri had to ring in the changes when he brought in Muhammad Fajar Rachman and then Beckham Nugraha.
But with the battle restricted to the centre of the park, chances were few where it was not until the 39th minute of play that Laos actually created a real opportunity with a Phouvieng Phouhsavath freekick that tested Indonesian custodian Ermando Sutaryadi.
Muhammad Fajar gave Indonesia more options down the left and barely a minute in, Bagus’ effort could have seen better finish while Sutan Diego fared no better against a determined Laos’ backline.
That failure to find the back of the net saw Laos taking the lead instead in the 69th minute with Alounnay Lounlasy firing in from the edge of the Indonesian box.
But that advantage would last barely three minutes with who else but the irrepressible Bagus slaloming his way through in the 72nd minute to beat Laos keeper Solasak Thilavong.
As Laos put men behind the ball in an attempt to at least steal the one point, came the cross from Beckham that was unfortunately nudged into goal by Laos defender Anoulack.
In the meantime, Timor Leste look to finish on third in the group when they beat the Philippines 5-2 in the first game of the afternoon at the Binh Duong Stadium.
Midfielder Mouzinho Barreto De Lima was on target four times with goals in the 30th, 56th, 60th and 89th as Komelis Nahak Portela added the fifth goal in the 90th minute.
The Philippines were on target twice through Carlo Guanzon Dorin in the 60th and then Pocholo Bugas in the 77th minute.
RESULTS –12 August 2019
Indonesia 2 Laos 1
Timor Leste 5 Philippines 2
Brunei DS 2 Myanmar 0
FIXTURES – 13 August 2019
1530: Australia vs Malaysia – Thanh Long
1630: Cambodia vs Singapore – Thong Nhat
1930: Thailand vs Vietnam – Thong Nhat