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Myanmar beats Vietnam, advances to SEA Games football final

/ 06:35 PM June 13, 2015
Nguyen Minh Tung of Vietnam (6) tackles Kyaw Zin Lwin of Myanmar in the soccer semi-final at the SEA Games in Singapore on Saturday. AP

Nguyen Minh Tung of Vietnam (6) tackles Kyaw Zin Lwin of Myanmar in the soccer semi-final at the SEA Games in Singapore on Saturday. AP

SINGAPORE—Captain Tun Nay Lin scored a late winner and Phyo Kyaw Zin made four crucial saves as Myanmar beat Vietnam 2-1 on Saturday to reach the Southeast Asian Games football final for only the second time in 22 years.

Synchronized clapping and thunderous chants of Myanmar echoed around Singapore’s National Stadium, where Myanmar people were in the majority in the crowd.

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Myanmar has lost twice to Thailand in its only appearances in SEA Games finals—in 2007 and in 1993, the last time the games were held in Singapore—since its golden run ended with a fifth straight title in 1973.

Defending gold medalist Thailand, a 14-time champion, will play Indonesia later Saturday for the other spot in the final. The game could be Indonesia’s last in international football for a while due to Fifa-imposed ban that was imposed shortly after the SEA Games started.

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In the first of the semifinals, the Vietnamese created more opportunities, dominated possession and field position and were bigger and more organized but were denied by Myanmar keeper Phyo Kyaw Zin, who stopped shots on target from forward Mac Hong Quan in the 11th, 55th and 69th minutes and tipped Nguyen Thanh Hien’s powerful shot around the far post in the 78th, a minute before Tun Nay Lin produced what he later described as “an historic goal in my career” at the other end.

Myanmar coach Lwin Kyi said his squad was peaking at the right end of the tournament.

“No matter who play … we are more confident for the final,” he said. “Not only the coaching group, but all the players.”

Vietnam coach Toshiya Miura said Myanmar went into the game with a defensive plan but his team had enough opportunities to win the game and struggled to finish.

“Maybe Myanmar was lucky, but we had at least five chances. But this is not just Vietnam’s problem—every Asian country has the same problem.”

Myanmar opened the scoring with a penalty from Aung Si Thu after a Vietnam midfielder Ho Ngoc Thang, lining up third from the left in a defensive wall, was booked for handball after sticking his elbow out to deflect a free kick in the 37th minute.

Vietnam equalized when Vo Huy Toan tapped in from close range in the 71st after Nguyen Huy Hung’s shot deflected off a Myanmar defender.

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Myanmar’s intensity lifted, and the celebrations started when Tun Nay Lin’s right-foot strike from the edge of the area deflected off the boot of a defender and inside the near post.

Elsewhere at the games, Vietnam won a cycling title when Asian Games silver medalist Nguyen Thi That won the women’s mass start race, and the country also picked up two of the five archery golds.

Malaysia won the men’s and women’s team finals in squash, and the men’s regu in sepak takraw with a 21-10, 21-16 win over Laos.

Midway through Saturday’s program, Thailand led the medal standings with 75 gold, one ahead of host Singapore and 11 clear of third-place Vietnam. Malaysia (44), Indonesia (37), Philippines (24) and Myanmar (11) maintained their places in mid-table.

News and features about 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19-30. Visit http://inq.news/seagames.

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TAGS: Football, Myanmar, SEA Games, Vietnam
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