Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Aung Thu’s brace blanks Singapore

Myanmar's campaign at the 29th SEA Games got off on a triumphant note, its men’s football team scoring a facile victory over Singapore in the curtain-raiser played at the Selayang Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Midfielder Mg Mg Lwin and striker Aung Thu celebrate Myanmar’s second goal against Singapore in the opening match of the 29th SEA Games football competition in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Photo - Myanmar Football FederationMidfielder Mg Mg Lwin and striker Aung Thu celebrate Myanmar’s second goal against Singapore in the opening match of the 29th SEA Games football competition in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Photo - Myanmar Football Federation

Under grey skies and in front of some 3000 spectators, many waving Myanmar’s national flag and cheering raucously, Myanmar players took control of the game from the start and never let it slip. They had the better of the exchanges and more ball possession.

They completely dominated the proceedings and could have easily gone ahead on many occasions early in the match had they not wasted chances they had created.

Losing finalist at the last Games in Singapore, Myanmar scored each side of the interval to post a comfortable 2-0 victory, their star forward Aung Thu, who had an outstanding match, delivering a brace.

Aung Thu, 21, has been a constant thorn in Singapore’s side. In last month’s AFC U-23 qualifiers held in Yangon, he opened the scoring against the same opposition in a match that Myanmar went on to win by an identical margin.

Yesterday, he opened his account with a calm finish in first-half injury time while his second came from a simple tap-in after good work by team-mate Mg Mg Lwin down the right flank 16 minutes into the second half to secure three valuable points for his team.

Singapore were a much improved side after the break. The second half of the match proved a more even contest as Singapore went on the offensive in search of an equalizer and succeeded in creating chances of their own but poor finishing cost them dearly. And Aung Thu’s second goal in the 61st minute effectively sealed their fate.

Myanmar defender Hein Thiha Zaw was the only player to be shown a yellow for a poor challenge. The match on the whole was played in good spirit.

‘‘I am very proud of my young players. In the second half they showed what real Singaporean football is like,” said Richard Tardy, the Singapore coach, after the match and complimented his players for their fighting qualities and putting their opponents under pressure.

Myanmar coach Gerd Zeise was pleased with his team’s performance, though he was critical of his players not making most of the opportunities that came their way.

But he said: ‘‘This match was good marketing for Southeast Asian football. My players would definitely gain more confidence out of it.’’

Myanmar’s next match is against Laos tomorrow.

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