Indonesia could not make a triumphant return to youth football in ASEAN when they fell to a 3-2 loss to Myanmar in the opening game of Group B of the AFF Vietcombank Under-19 Championship that was played this afternoon at the Youth Football Training Centre (YFTC).
As defending champions Thailand coast to a close 2-1 win over Laos across town at the Hang Day Stadium in the other group tie, the battle between Indonesia and Myanmar was as exhilarating as the cheer from the stands as fans from either sides belted a string of tunes.
But in the end, the action was all on the field as both teams pulled no punches to demonstrate just how much they wanted to win.
Eleven minutes in, Aung Kaung Mann scored the most flamboyant of goals when he back-heeled a goal mouth melee as Indonesia then replied just six minutes later when Pandi Lestaluhu picked up the ball from deep before slotting home past Myanmar keeper Sann Sat Naing.
A few minutes later, a bad crash between Indonesian keeper Muhammad Riyandi and Myanmar keeper Shwe Ko saw the latter being stretchered out to be replaced by Satria Tama Hardiyanto.
Myanmar then fought back to grab the lead in the 27th minute when Kaung Mann turned provider for Zwe That Paing to sneak in between his marker and Satria for the goal.
Just before the break, Indonesia levelled up once again when Sandi Pratama smashed in the rebound after Habibi’s earlier attempt was blocked.
There was no slowing the pace into the second half as neither want to play it defensive. And while Indonesia were building confidence, they found themselves falling behind yet again in the 55th minute when Shwe Ko’s seemingly flailing attempt went through the legs of Satria intead.
“It is disappointing to lose the first game but the players played their hearts out and that is important,” said Indonesian coach Eduard Tjong.
“We still have four more games to play, so we should look to win the remainder of the games.”
In the meantime, Thailand had the goal from Supachai Chaided right at the hour mark to thank for their first win in Group B when they beat Laos 2-1 at the Hang Day Stadium.
Worachit Kantaribumphen’s 26th minute lead for Thailand was cancelled out by Laos’ Maitee in the 43rd minute.