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