Myanmar footballers look like medal prospects
(Shirmar Felongco 17)
(Nay Lin Tun 21, Shine Thura 46, Ye Win Aung 62, Sithu Aung 69, Kyaw Zin Lwin 90+2)
Despite suffering an early scare at the Jalan Besar Stadium, their confidence never wavered and, in the end, the Myanmar Under-23 team went on to claim an emphatic triumph.
With a 5-1 win over Philippines in last night's SEA Games Group A encounter, they are almost certainly through to the semi-finals.
They could still finish outside the top two given there remains a chance of a three-way tie with Indonesia and Cambodia -- progress to the last four would then be decided by goal difference -- but that equation is highly unlikely as Myanmar all of a sudden look like serious contenders for a football medal.
Myanmar boss Kyi Lwin believes they are gold-medal prospects.
"We are growing in confidence and belief that we can get the gold medal," he said.
"However, our key players are suffering from fatigue and we'll most likely have to rely on some of the reserves for our final game (against Cambodia).
"But we'll continue to prepare for that game as best as we can, and hopefully the semi-finals and final after that."
Following impressive wins over Indonesia and Singapore in their first two matches, Myanmar were expected to cruise to victory against bottom side Philippines.
But they found themselves behind after 17 minutes following a fine individual effort by Azkals captain Shirmar Felongco, who embarked on a 40-metre run before clinically finding the bottom corner.
But four minutes later, parity was restored when Nay Lin Tun netted with a deflected free-kick. Myanmar took the lead a minute after halftime as Shine Thura lashed a shot past Nathanael Villanueva at the near post, and from then on, the White Angels never looked in danger of letting the three points slip away.
Ye Win Aung added a third in the 62nd minute with a close-range finish, before further goals from Sithu Aung and Kyaw Zin Lwin capped off a dominant display.
- PHILIPPINES: Nathanael Villanueva, Richard Talaroc (Neil Dorimon 66), Julian Clarino, Ronnie Aguisanda (Kennedy Uzoka 75), Dominic Del Rosario, Shirmar Felongco, Paolo Bugas, Jaime Cheng (Fitch Arboleda 43), Paolo Salenga, Nathanael Alquiros, Connor Tacagni.
- MYANMAR: Kyaw Zin Phyo, Kyaw Zin Lwin, Ye Win Aung, Phyo Ko Ko Thein (Ko Ko Hein), Hein Thiha Zaw, Nay Lin Tun (Thiha Zaw 57), Ye Ko Oo, Hlaing Bo Bo (Aung Show Thar Maung 70), Sithu Aung, Shine Thura, Kaung Sat Naing.
- TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: Shine Thura (Myanmar)