SURABAYA (6 Aug 2018) – A 2-2 draw against Vietnam was good enough to ensure Myanmar their safe passage to the semi-finals of the AFF Under-16 Championship at the end of a battling encounter here at the Delta Sidoarjo Stadium.
With Myanmar needing only a draw to make the grade to the next round, they played a patient game as their continued frustration of Vietnam confirmed their place alongside Group A winners Indonesia.
“Vietnam were strong today but in football you need luck and that was what happened,” said Myanmar head coach Nyi Nyi Latt.
“The team worked hard and I think that we thoroughly deserved our place in the semi-finals.”
In the decisive match of the group, Myanmar played a smart defensive game as the plan was to frustrate their opponents.
But they were not overly defensive as they realised that the advantage is theirs where they needed just the one point to confirm their passage to the final four of the competition this year.
As Vietnam striker Dau Ngoc Thanh continued to be exasperated with their inability to get a clean shot in, it was Myanmar who went ahead in the 12th minute when striker La Min Htwe stabbed the ball home in the middle of Vietnam’s failure to make a clearance.
A goal down heaped even more pressure on Vietnam as they continued to press Myanmar back before it finally bore fruit in the 27th minute from Dinh Thanh Trung’s close range effort.
Into the second half, Myanmar then utilised Min Htwe as the lone striker with captain Naung Naung Soe as back up while Vietnam gambled with two strikers being backed up by two speedy wingers.
Even then, they were finding difficulty to get the ball into the Myanmar box where instead it was the later who went ahead in the 59th minute with an Aung Ko Oo low freekick that was flicked into the suspecting Vietnam goal by Yan Kyaw Soe.
Vietnam continued to push forward and they managed to draw level with Dinh Thanh Trung making good the cross from Ngo Thanh Thai.
As the clock trickled down and Myanmar continuing to protect their line and lead, Vietnam came close with the winner but goalkeeper Nay Lin Htet managed to push the ball out while the resulting rebound was cleared on the line.
“We are very unhappy with the result. We needed to win but several of the players were playing below par,” said Vietnam head coach Vu Hong Viet.
“We played a high pressure game but we just could not score from the few chances we had.”
In the meantime, Timor Leste completed their Group A fixtures with a 4-1 comeback win over the Philippines at the Joko Samudro Stadium.
It was the Philippines who went ahead first in the 22nd minute through Antoine Ortega before Timor Leste fought back in the second half.
Jaime Posquillo found the equaliser in the 44th minute and then Alto Da Cruz (51st minute), Osorio Da Costa (53rd minute) and Joel Gomez (55th minute).