Myanmar turned in their best performance of the AFF Under-19 Championship tonight which was just what they needed to stun Malaysia 1-0 and keep them in the running for a precious semi-final berth.
Striker Kyaw Ko Ko Oo delivered the winner for Myanmar in the 50th minute. The Malaysians, who were without the services of their star striker Muhammad Jafri Firdaus Chew, tried all they could but were unable to recover from the goal.
Today, Malaysia only required a draw to confirm their place in the last four but will not have to wait it out for the final group match between Vietnam and Myanmar to see if they will advance. The last group match is on Monday which happens to be Malaysia’s Independence day.
As it stands now, Vietnam top Group B with seven points. Malaysia and Myanmar also have seven points each. Malaysia, however, is in second spot as they have a better goal difference. In fact, for Myanmar to qualify for the semis, they must draw or beat Vietnam. Losing is not an option at all for Myanmar as a defeat will mean they will finish third in the group and hence exit the tournament.
Myanmar’s German coach, Gerd Friedrich Horst Zeise said the team played differently from the earlier two games. “We had some discussions and made some changes for today. It was a different team. We had a good first half with chances and could have scored more.”
“Against Vietnam, it will be very tough. Their players are from the Arsenal Football School and combine very well. We will try our best and give them a good fight.”
The game was only two minutes old when Myanmar had their first whiff at goal. Ko Ko Oo, from way over on the right, sent a long ball across the goal which found Sis Min. His solid header however was pushed out by goalkeeper Muhammad Hazrull Hafiz. Myanmar had a great chance in the 20th minute however Zar Nay Ya Thu was unable to get a clean shot in front of goal.
Just prior to that, Malaysia had their chance but Muhammad Nazirul Afif’s powerful shot sailed to the left of the post. Coach Hassan Sazali Mohd Waras then brought in striker Mohamed Syamer Kutty Abba to add more sting to their attack. And two minutes later, Syamer’s shot swerved just off the mark.
Soon after the break, Ko Ko Oo, who was constantly lurking around the Malaysian goal, saw his chance and stunned the Malaysians with what turned out to be winning goal of the match.
As the game progressed, it became more intense as both sides wanted to win. In the end the referee, Ahmed Sifan Abdul Raheem from Maldives dished out four yellow cards.
Meanwhile, Malaysian coach Hassan congratulated Myanmar for their performance. “It’s not an easy competition. We had two tough games, against Vietnam and today against Myanmar. We will now have to wait for the outcome of the game between Vietnam and Myanmar on Monday.”
Singapore 0 Vietnam 6
Malaysia 0 Myanmar 1
Aug 30 (Group A)
4.00pm: Thailand vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Laos vs Philippines
Aug 31 (Group B)
4.00pm: Timor Leste vs Singapore
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Vietnam
Note: For full fixtures and details, please go to www.aseanfootball.org