Myanmar Footballers Win Through to Gold Medal Match
Singapore. Myanmar’s Southeast Asian team might be one of the smallest in world football but what they lack in height they more than make up in energy and commitment.
Playing their fifth game in 12 days, they hung tough through long periods of pressure before beating Vietnam 2-1 at Singapore’s National Stadium on Saturday to move through to the gold medal match.
They await the winners of Saturday’s second semi-final between hot favourites Thailand and Indonesia in Monday’s final where they will aim for their first football gold at the biennial multi-sports games in 42 years.
Little was expected from the under-23 side who were missing key players held back for the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign and also competing at the under-20 World Cup in New Zealand but their fighting spirit has captivated a nation.
Adopting the slogan “No Stars, No Problem” they went unbeaten through the group stages with impressive victories over Indonesia and hosts Singapore, but faced their toughest task on Saturday.
They soaked up a lot of pressure before wide midfielder Aung Si Thu calmly stroked home a 39th minute penalty after Vietnam defender Ho Ngoc Thang stuck his elbow out to block a free-kick.
Vietnam continued to press and were guilty of wasting several chances before Vo Huy Toan finally levelled with 20 minutes to go after the ball kindly fell on his path in front of an unguarded net.
But plucky Myanmar, with their tallest outfield player only 1.71 metres tall and the goalkeeper Phyo Kyaw Zin not much bigger, got the lead back in the 78th minute when captain Tun Nay Lin’s long-range effort looped off defender Nguyen Than Hien into the net.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe