A late strike from captain Kai Clifton Trewin gave Australia their place in the final of the AFF Under-18 Next Media Cup 2019 when they beat a brave Myanmar side 2-1 in the second semifinal that was played at the Binh Duong Stadium tonight.
With Malaysia having beaten Indonesia 4-3 in extra time in the earlier semifinal, Myanmar were inspired enough to trade Australia blows for blows as neither side were making it easy under wet and slippery conditions.
It was Myanmar who created the first real chance in the game just six minutes in with a cracker from Aung Ko Oo that was parried by Australian keeper Noah Paul James for a futile corner.
Four minutes later, Australia replied with a superb effort from Bradley Chick that forced Myanmar custodian Pyae Phyo Thu into a full stretch.
As Australia then continued to apply the pressure, it was Myanmar who finally went ahead in the 18th minute with the nippy La Min Htwe breaking through off a quick counter-attack to put the ball beyond the reach of James..
Rattled, Australia pushed forward in numbers but Myanmar kept it tight at the back all the way into the second half.
But a lapse in concentration among the back four in the 56th minute saw Lachlan Brook cutting in from the left before unleashing a stiff grounder past Phyo Thu for the equalizing goal.
It was Myanmar who seem to be playing under pressure from then on as the time trickled down, a mistake with a failed clearance from an Australian corner in the 77th minute allowed Trewin to stab the ball home.
However, Myanmar were not giving up just yet as Min Htwe, well supported by Saw Kyaw Ee down the right was always looking for the quick counter.
But the Australian defense marshalled by Alex Mills and Thomas Fay were not about to let this slip as they maintained a strong grip at the back to limit their opponents to a few wayward shots.
With the close win, Australia will now take on Malaysia in the FINAL of the championship in two days.
RESULTS –17 August 2019
Indonesia 3 Malaysia 4 (after extra time)
Australia 2 Myanmar 1
FIXTURES –19 August 2019
All Matches at the Thong Nhat Stadium
THIRD / FOURTH PLACING
1630: Indonesia vs Myanmar
1930: Malaysia vs Australia