White Angels can’t match Aussies in group stage
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.
Midfielder Aung Moe Thu (left) loses possession on a charge downfield.