Avramovic back in Singapore for Suzuki Cup, with Myanmar
(Nanda Lin Kyaw Chit 42, Kyaw Ko Ko 80)
(Ketsada Souksavanh 90+3)
It took them a while to get going, but Myanmar saved their best performance for last in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers.
A 2-1 win over hosts Laos at the New Laos National Stadium yesterday was enough for them to seal top spot - and a place in Group B in the finals alongside Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
It sets up an enticing meeting between Myanmar boss Radojko Avramovic and his former employers Singapore on Nov 26.
After the match, Avramovic admitted that he is looking forward to returning to the country that he led to three AFF Suzuki Cup crowns.
"Of course, it will be nice to go back to Singapore," said the Serb.
"I still have many friends there and it will be good to see all the familiar faces once more. But, once we take to the field, it will be business as usual for us."
Myanmar got off to a bright start, but wasted an excellent chance after six minutes when Min Min Thu headed over from six metres after being left unmarked at a corner.
The White Angels almost took the lead in the 20th minute when Kyaw Ko Ko latched onto Kyi Lin's incisive pass and took the ball past Laos goalkeeper Seng Athit Somvang, but Oudomsith Singlatsomboun raced back in time to clear his goal-bound shot.
But there was no denying Myanmar three minutes before the break when Min Min Thu lofted a lovely pass to Nanda Lin Kyaw Chit, who clinically sent a first-time shot into the bottom corner to hand his side the lead.
The Laotians wasted a golden opportunity to pull level on the hour mark when Soukaphone Vongchiengkham blazed over from the penalty spot, after he had been brought down inside the area by Aung Zaw.
With 10 minutes remaining, Avramovic's charges made their opponents pay for that miss when Kyaw did what Soukaphone failed to do by converting a penalty after he had been fouled inside the area.
Laos pulled one back in added time when they were awarded another penalty - Ketsada Souksavanh stepping up on this occasion and coolly slotting into the back of the net.
However, it proved to be a mere consolation as Myanmar went on to claim the win and a place in Group B which also consists of Malaysia and Thailand.
Avramovic believes that it would not necessarily have been easier had they finished second and gone into Group A to play Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines.
"To be honest, I didn't have any preference," said the 64-year-old.
"It doesn't really matter whether we're going to Singapore or Vietnam - both groups are very tough.
"We've done the first job in qualifying and now we have to see if we are able to compete against the stronger teams."
- MYANMAR: Thiha Sithu, Nay Myo Aung, Aung Zaw, Zaw Min Tun, Khin Maung Lwin, Chit Su Moe, Min Min Thu (Ye Win Aung 88), David Htan (Yan Aung Kyaw 41), Kyi Lin (Aung Kyaw Naing 81), Nanda Lin Kyaw Chit, Kyaw Ko Ko
- LAOS: Seng Athit Somvang, Bounthavy Sipasong, Oudomsith Singlatsomboun (Saison Khounsamnan 71), Ketsada Souksavanh, Khamla Pinkeo (Sengdao Inthilath 37), Tiny Bounmalay, Paseuthsack Souliyavong, Phattana Syvilay, Soukaphone Vongchiengkham, Phoutthasay Khochalern, Sitthideth Khantavong (Khonesavanh Sihavong 46).
- Cambodia 1 Brunei 0