Myan­mar U-19 team loses in penal­ties

The Myanmar Times - - Sport - KYAW ZIN HLAING kyawz­inhlaing@mm­times.com

MYAN­MAR dropped the third-place match in the KBZ Bank U-19 Cup, los­ing to ri­val Thai­land in a penalty shoot-out 8-7 yes­ter­day at Man­dalar Thiri Sta­dium.

The loss came as a sur­prise, as the home team dom­i­nated Thai­land 1-0 in their pre­vi­ous meet­ing dur­ing the tour­na­ment’s round-robin stage. But af­ter an in­jury and en­su­ing red card, the Myan­mar side could not break a tie as time wound down and would go on to lose in the penal­ties by miss­ing two shots.

Myan­mar got the scor­ing started in the first half. Striker Aung Kaung Mann slipped through the Thai de­fence in the 23rd minute, slot­ting a goal past the Thai­land keeper’s out­stretched right hand. The goal capped a fe­ro­cious start from the home team, which saw mul­ti­ple shots on goal from Aung Kaung Mann and Kyaw Thet Oo, the other striker.

The tide be­gan to turn, how­ever, when Thai striker Si­r­i­mongkol Jit­ban­jong headed in a cross from the cor­ner to even the score at 1-1. The goal came just be­fore the half, and when the teams emerged from the locker room, Thai­land be­gan to as­sert con­trol.

As the Myan­mar de­fend­ers strug­gled to foil Thai coun­ter­at­tacks, the game’s early hero Aung Kaung Mann went down with a lower body in­jury. Myan­mar coach U Myo Hlaing Win sub­sti­tuted Sa Aung Pyay Ko, who quickly made his own exit af­ter draw­ing a red card.

Down a man, their at­tack suf­fered for the fi­nal 20 min­utes. The Thai mid­field con­trolled the ball, feed­ing their forwards and chal­leng­ing the Myan­mar de­fend­ers on all sides. When the whis­tle blew at the end of 90 min­utes, Myan­mar was for­tu­nate to have earned a chance at a penalty shoot-out.

Myan­mar keeper Sann Sat Naing stopped the first Thai at­tempt, some­thing that seemed like a good omen. But af­ter both teams cap­i­talised on their sec­ond chances, Myan­mar missed a kick of its own. Still tied af­ter five chances, the game pro­gressed to sud­den death, and the Thai keeper man­aged to turn away Myan­mar’s eighth at­tempt.

Af­ter the game, U-19 head coach U Myo Hlaing Win said that he thought his team strug­gled be­cause Thai­land had learned their style of play dur­ing the teams’ first meet­ing.

“Both teams knew each other well and pre­pared care­fully,” he said. “We missed some chances, and so we missed third place.”

He added, how­ever, that this tour­na­ment is more-or-less a tune-up for the up­com­ing AFF U-19 Cham­pi­onships in Hanoi.

“We played four matches against good op­po­nents in this tour­na­ment,” U Myo Hlaing Win,a for­mer star striker for the Myan­mar na­tional team, said. “We got ex­pe­ri­ence, and that’s what we needed. I think our play­ers have more con­fi­dence now.”

The up­com­ing tour­na­ment will be his first as Myan­mar’s U-19 coach, and he hopes to re­turn the team to its glory years in the mid 2000s. Say­ing he felt “80 per­cent” sat­is­fied with the coun­try’s cur­rent squad, U Myo Hlaing Win has just two weeks to get ev­ery­thing in or­der.

Myan­mar will face a chal­leng­ing Group B draw of Thai­land, Laos, Aus­tralia, Cam­bo­dia and In­done­sia.

Photos: Face­book/MFF

Thai­land scores the win­ning penalty against Myan­mar keeper Sann Sat Naing in the KBZ Bank U-19 Cup yes­ter­day.

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