Myanmar are firmly in the driver’s seat of Group A of the men’s football event at the SEA Games following their 5-1 thrashing of the Philippines which put them in the semi-finals of the biennial meet.
After three matches, Myanmar have collected the maximum nine points where they now have only the final group game against Cambodia to play for on 10 June.
“We played long passes at the start before we changed to the short passes and that turned out to be effective,” said Myanmar coach Kyi Lwin after the match.
“We made some mistakes in the first half but we recovered.”
Philippines went into the match on the back of two previous losses – to Singapore and Cambodia. But that did not affect their gameplan where they played a compact game and with the short passes, troubled the Myanmar backline somewhat.
And while Myanmar were moving the ball around in an effort to reach targetman Naing Kaung Sat and Thura Shine, it was the Philippines who prised open the lead in the 17th minute.
Off a penetrating run from the left, Jaime Cheng fired in from the edge of the Myanmar box to beat keeper Phyo Kyaw Zin.
But Myanmar just had too much quality and the Philippines’ lead was to last for just four minutes in before captain Nay Lin Tun fired in a freekick that came off the defensive wall before beating custodian Nathanael Villaneuva.
On level terms, Myanmar grew in confidence as the Philippines seem to have lost their momentum. With the scored tied at the half, a lapse in the backline allowed Myanmar to take the lead for the first time just a minute after the breather.
Thura Shine just ran in with the ball from the right before beating Villaneuva for the second time on the night with a stiff grounder.
From then on, it was all Myanmar as the Philippines defended in numbers but to no avail as the former added further goals through Aung Ye Win’s stabbing effort from the far post in the 62nd and then Aung Si Thu punishing Villaneuva’s mis-kick in the 70th minute as he rolled the ball into an empty goal.
Zin Lwin Kyaw then completed the rout with the fifth and final goal right at the end.
“We made simple errors. We made decision making errors,” quipped Philippines coach Marlon Maro.
“But these are normal for players who are new to the international competition. And even though we played well in the first half, they just could not sustain the pace and the pressure.”
In the meantime over at the Bishan Stadium, Vietnam kept up the chase with Thailand at the top of Group B when they thrashed Timor Leste 4-0.
Tran Phi Son opened account in the 12th minute before Vietnam added further goals in the second half through Mac Hong Quan (50th minute), Que Ngoc Hai (57th) and Vo Huy Tuan (61st).
The win allowed Vietnam to take over the top spot in Group B on superior goal difference.
RESULTS – 7 June 2015
Timor Leste 0 Vietnam 4
Philippines 1 Myanmar 5
GROUP A CURRENT STANDINGS