| PHNOM PENH (August 24, 2007) – Defending champions Vietnam made sure of their place in the last four of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-17 Championship when they beat Myanmar 1-0 here at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
But the match almost did not go their way when Myanmar controlled the lion’s share of the possession in the first half only to concede a goal in the 49th minute from a header off Vietnam midfielder Nguyen Ngoc Long.
“I have to congratulate the players for the win even though they did not play well in the first half,” said Vietnam head coach Dinh Huong Vinh.
“It was a close match, so it was important for us to win the game to put us in the next round of the championship.”
With the sky threatening to open up at any point in the game, both Myanmar and Vietnam pulled no punches in the opening half as they exchanged wits at either ends of the pitch.
In the 31st minute, Myanmar’s Kaung Htet Aung floated in a cross which Myo Kyaw failed to connect while two minutes later, Zaw Lin Htet’s grounder was all too easy for Vietnam keeper Tran Van Phu.
Vietnam ended the first half with what was their best effort when Nguyen Dinh Loi blasted in from the edge of the box only to be blocked by recovering Myanmar defender Thet Paing Soe.
However, four minutes after the restart saw Vietnam grabbing the lead when Nguyen Ngoc Long headed in a corner from Huynh Van Thanh.
Myanmar tried to get back into the match after that but just can’t seem to find a way through the Vietnam defence as they stood their ground.
As the game trickled down and in spite of the five-minute added time, there was nothing that could change the inevitable as Myanmar now must look to win their last group game against Laos.
“It was pure hard luck on our part,” said Myanmar head coach U Khin Maung Tint.
“The boys played better today than in their first game and even though we created numerous chances, the ball just won’t go in.”
IN THE MEANTIME in an earlier match, Laos gave Singapore a 4-0 beating in their first match in Group B.
Sopha Saysana nailed a hat-trick in the 37th, 50th and 58th minute while Souksavanh Bouttakhot added the other goal in the 47th minute for the win.
“We have a lot of time to prepare for this game and also we had the chance to look at Singapore and some of the other teams which was a big advantage,” said Laos head coach Soulivanh Xeunvilay.
“It was a hard game against Singapore but we should be happy with the score line.”
GROUP B STANDING
1. VIETNAM 6pts (+3); 2. LAOS 3pts (+4); 3. MYANMAR 1pts (-1); 4. SINGAPORE 1pt (-6)
PIC: MYANMAR (in red) against VIETNAM (in white)