Aung San Shield comes home to Magwe

The Myanmar Times - - Ooredoo Myanmar National League 2016 - KYAW ZIN HLAING kyawz­inhlaing@mm­times.com

GEN­ERAL Aung San’s Shield will re­turn to the na­tional hero’s birth­place, as Magwe FC de­feated Yan­gon United 2-1 in the Gen­eral Aung San Shield cham­pi­onship game yes­ter­day at Aung San Sta­dium.

It is the first Shield tour­na­ment vic­tory for Magwe, the home re­gion of the late gen­eral, and the club will now look for­ward to its spoils – a berth in next year’s Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup.

The win did not come easy for Magwe, how­ever, as Yan­gon United got the scor­ing started in the first half. Star striker Kyaw Ko Ko sent a whistling free kick at the keeper in the 40th minute, cre­at­ing a re­bound op­por­tu­nity that de­fender Zaw Min Tun was able to head home.

For the fi­nal five min­utes be­fore the half, Magwe could not man­age to net an equaliser, run­ning re­peat­edly into stout de­fence from Li­ons’ de­fend­ers Zaw Min and Ku­ni­hiro Ya­mashita and keeper Luiz Fer­nando.

The sec­ond half was an­other story en­tirely, how­ever, as Magwe made some key sub­sti­tu­tions to raise their at­tack. The sub­sti­tu­tions paid off in the 69th minute, when de­fender Michael Henry Al­loy­sius headed in a vol­ley on the doorstep.

Once the match was even, both teams ratch­eted up the pace. Backand-forth ac­tion cap­ti­vated large crowd at Aung San Sta­dium, but the home fans would be si­lenced in the 75th minute by a stun­ning strike from for­ward Sylla Sekou.

The Li­ons would push even harder af­ter fall­ing be­hind, but when the horn sounded it was Magwe’s tour­na­ment to claim.

The win caps Magwe’s most suc­cess­ful sea­son ever, as they have also locked in the run­ner-up spot in 2016 Myanmar Na­tional League as well.

The Shield vic­tory earns them a chance to play in next year’s AFC Cup, mark­ing the first time Magwe will face in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

As for the Li­ons, who ral­lied down the stretch be­hind for­mer player turned new coach, Myo Min Tun, the loss caps an unin­spired sea­son that saw hated ri­vals Yada­nar­bon win the MNL ti­tle. They will look to next foot­ball sea­son for a chance to re­group.

Pho­tos: Nan Zay Htet

Magwe FC for­ward Aung Show Thar Maung, cen­tre, drib­bles be­tween Yan­gon United de­fend­ers on his way to the net.

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