White An­gels can’t match Aussies in group stage

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

BOYS against men, it seemed yes­ter­day dur­ing Myan­mar’s AFF U-19 Cham­pi­onships match against Aus­tralia. The Myan­mar squad was trounced 3-0 by their larger, stronger coun­ter­parts at Hang Day Sta­dium in Hanoi, Viet­nam. The loss stings, but does not de­stroy Myan­mar’s chances of ad­vanc­ing, as the White An­gels pulled off a tour­na­ment-open­ing win against In­done­sia ear­lier this week.

Aus­tralia, how­ever, proved a much stouter test than In­done­sia, with in­di­vid­ual skills far out­match­ing those of the Myan­mar play­ers.

In the first half, the Aussies quickly found Myan­mar’s de­fen­sive weak points, send­ing clin­i­cal passes through gaps and out­rac­ing de­fend­ers down the side­lines. It didn’t take long be­fore the goals be­gan, as mid­fielder De­jan Pan­dure­vic scored in the 18th minute af­ter slic­ing through the back line.

Just nine min­utes later, the Soc­ceroo net­ted his sec­ond goal of the con­test, build­ing a two-goal lead that would stand un­til half­time.

Af­ter the break, a des­per­ate Myan mar side be­gan to push for­ward in hopes of gen­er­at­ing more scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, but for­wards Aung Kaung Mann and Zwe Thet Paing could not repeat their suc­cesses from the week’s ear­lier match against In­done­sia.

In­stead, Aus­tralia be­gan launch­ing coun­ter­at­tacks, turn­ing away chances from the Myan­mar strik­ers and swiftly mov­ing the ball up­field. It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore an odd-man rush got the best of the de­fence, and sure enough, mid­fielder Lach­lan Scott slot­ted one past Myan­mar keeper Sann Sat Naing in the 82nd minute.

The 3-0 loss must be swiftly for­got­ten, as Myan­mar goes on to face Laos to­mor­row and Cam­bo­dia on Septem­ber 18. The White An­gels should be able to pick up at least three points from those games be­fore go­ing into their fi­nal group stage match against arch ri­val Thai­land on Septem­ber 20.

De­pend­ing on the re­sults of other matches, the fi­nal game against Thai­land could de­cide whether Myan­mar can ad­vance to the semi-fi­nals, where they will have a chance to book their ticket to an AFF U-19 Cham­pi­onship game for the first time since 2005, when the White An­gels trav­elled to In­done­sia and topped Malaysia in a gripping fi­nal match, 1-0.

Pho­tos: MFF/Face­book

Mid­fielder Aung Moe Thu (left) loses pos­ses­sion on a charge down­field.

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