It's now do or die for Young Lions
Defeat leaves Aide's men with two do-or-die clashes for place in semi-finals
SINGAPORE U-23 1
(Faris Ramli 34 pen)
MYANMAR U-23 2
(Tun Nay Lin 24, Ye Ko Oo 60)
As the Myanmar bench emptied onto the pitch at the final whistle, the Singapore youngsters sank to their knees.
Captain Al-Qaasimy Rahman was the only Singapore Under-23 player who stayed on his feet. He walked to the end of the pitch and consoled goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari, who was in tears.
The 22-year-old custodian knew his errors cost his side the game, especially the second goal, when he allowed a 60th minute free-kick from 30 metres to bounce over his hand into the back of the net.
It proved to be Myanmar's winner, and the 2-1 defeat leaves the Young Lions with no room for error in their final two group matches - against Cambodia next Monday and Indonesia three days later - if they are to finish in the top two of Group A to reach the semi-finals.
It was a tough result to take for Aide Iskandar's young charges, who turned in a much better performance after their lacklustre opener against the Philippines on Monday.
Faris Ramli equalised for the hosts from the penalty spot in the 34th minute, after Myanmar had opened the scoring through captain Tun Nay Lin 10 minutes earlier.
Syazwan flapped at a free-kick for the first goal and, despondent after the game, the Courts Young Lions player took full responsibilty for the two blunders.
"The first goal I tried to palm the ball away from danger, but it hit the opponent and went in," Syazwan explained.
"For the second goal, it was an awkward bounce in front of me.
"Qaasimy told me to stay positive after the match... Being a goalkeeper is a tough job, and when these things happen, you have to find a way to move on.
"But, trust me. I'll come back from this."
Aide refused to pin the defeat on his goalkeeper's errors.
While the 40-year-old was visibly disappointed with the result, he was proud of how his players fought to the final whistle.
"We didn't defend both free-kicks well, as a team," the former national captain said.
"But overall we did well, and Syazwan didn't have much to do all game. We created chances, but we just didn't score."
The Singapore team find themselves in a similar position from two years ago in Myanmar, when an opening draw against Laos meant the Young Lions faced an uphill task of reaching the last four.
That time, they managed, and Aide is confident that his team can pull it off again.
"The game plan from here is simple: we have to win the next two games," he said.
"Even if we won (last night), we'd still have to win those games, so nothing has really changed.
"You could see the boys crying (after the defeat) and that shows how much they wanted to win.
"Some of them have been in this situation before, and I believe their character will surface.
"So, let's believe in them."
LINE-UPS & PLAYERS' RATINGS
SINGAPORE: Syazwan Buhari 5, Al-Qaasimy Rahman 6.5, M Anumanthan 7, Sheikh Abdul Hadi 7, Shakir Hamzah 6.5, Safirul Sulaiman 6 (S Suria Prakash 69), Pravin Guanasagaran 8, Adam Swandi 6, Faris Ramli 7 (Amy Recha 86), Stanely Ng 5.5 (Irfan Fandi 57, 6.5), Sahil Suhaimi 6
MYANMAR: Phyo Kyaw Zin, Aung Si Thu, Bo Hlaing Bo, Tun Nay Lin, Naing Kaung Sat, Zin Lwin Kyaw (Aung Ye Win 67), Phyo Ko Ko Thein, Aung Zone Moe (Thiha Zaw 58), Thura Shine, Ye Ko Oo, Oo Win Zin (Hein Ko Ko 81)
TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: PRAVIN GUANASAGARAN
The combative midfielder, who didn't feature in the first game, was outstanding, winning almost all his challenges and distributing the ball confidently. Came close to being the hero when his 46th-minute drive went just wide.