Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hosts hand Myanmar first taste of defeat

Malaysia yesterday ended Myanmar’s unbeaten run at the 29th SEA Games with a facile 3-1 victory in the men’s football competition and go level on points with Myanmar in Group A, but with a game in hand.

Si Thu Aung, right, of Myanmar prepares to pass the ball in the match against Malaysia yesterday at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Aung Khant/The Myanmar TimesSi Thu Aung, right, of Myanmar prepares to pass the ball in the match against Malaysia yesterday at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Aung Khant/The Myanmar Times

Malaysia next play Laos, who are winless so far, and a victory will take the host nation top of their group where they will be joined by Myanmar.

Playing in front of a packed stadium and a partisan crowd cheering their every move, the Malaysians were a side vastly different from what one saw in their previous two matches. Functioning like a well-oiled unit, they moved up and down in droves, often wrong-footing and forcing their opponents into making errors.

Both teams had scoring opportunities in the early stages of the match, with Myanmar missing one in the 30th minute with the goal-keeper at their mercy.

Played at a brisk pace, Malaysia looked the better side after N. Thanabalan had given the hosts the lead in the 32nd minute. Their second goal came two minutes later via Safawi Rasid and thereafter Malaysia took control of the proceedings.

Going into half time the score stayed 2-0 and Myanmar looked a side in disarry. In the second half they upped the pace but it was the host nation that scored again in the 62nd minute, and it was Thanabalan again, their star striker in this competition.

Myanmar however, hit back four minutes later through Than Paing. But it was not good enough to inspire his team to bounce back and conjure a come-from-behind victory.

Myanmar has to concede they had been beaten by a better team on the day.

Elsewhere, Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi That stole the limelight in cycling, shocking home favourite Jupha Somnet to clinch the women’s criterium gold medal in Putrajaya.

It was a dramatic finish with three 2015 medallists battling it out again this year. Silver medallist in Singapore, it was Nguyen’s first gold in the criterium event.

Jupha won a bronze in Singapore but went one better this time to finish with a silver, while defending champion Jutatip Maneephan from Thailand had to settle for a bronze medal.

Mohd Harrif Saleh of Malaysia retained the men’s criterium gold medal despite a nagging waist injury. The silver went to Thailand’s Thanawut Sanikwathi and Mohd Zamri Saleh took the bronze.

Teenager Amita Berthier won the women’s individual foil to hand Singapore its first fencing gold yesterday. The 16-year-old beat Samantha Catantan of the Philippines 15-7.

Singapore added two more bronze medals through Nicole Wong (foil) and Ahmad Huzaifah (men’s sabre). Both lost their respective semi-finals.

There is no bronze medal play-off.

The competition continues today at the Malaysian Institute of Industrial Technology Hall 6 with the men’s individual foil and women’s individual epee on the cards.

Singapore’s wushu exponent Jowen Lim won gold medal in the men’s optional daoshu and gunshu, after emerging the top finisher with his score of 9.69 in the daoshu (broadsword) portion yesterday.

The 18-year-old had been the top performer in the gunshu (cudgel) portion on Sunday with his score of 9.68.

The scores in both events are added up for the overall score.

Lim’s total score of 19.37 put him ahead of silver medallist Achmad Hulaefi of Indonesia (19.35) and second runner-up Khaw Jun Lim of Malaysia (19.29).

At cricket, bouyed by a century from W. Uisuk, Thailand defeated Indonesia by 180 runs on Sunday to secure their second win in the SEA Games 50-over cricket competition at the Kinrara Oval.

Opening batsman Uisuk knocked an unbeaten 102 off 134 balls that included six fours and two sixes as the Thais posted an imposing 243-5 after being put in by the Indonesians.

Thailand then bowled their opponents out for a paltry 63 runs in 24.5 overs to win by 180 runs and hand Indonesia their third successive defeat.

Meanwhile, Malaysia stormed to a 10-wicket victory over Myanmar in the 50-over competition.

Batting first Myanmar were all out for 45 after 22 overs and Malaysia knocked off the required runs in quick time – just four overs – Shafiq Sharif leading the way with 37 not out.

The result sets up a tantalising clash between Malaysia and Singapore tomorrow in a match likely to decide the gold medal, with only net run rate separating the sides.

Also yesterday, Myanmar was due to play Malaysia in the opener of the women’s T20 competition.

– Agencies

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