Hosts Myanmar lose to Australia in football despite defensive effort

Nyi Nyi Soe Nyunt

Fighting for the chance to advance to the Asian Under 23 football qualifiers, Myanmar lost 0-3 to Australia in the last decisive Group F match in Thuwunna Stadium, Yangon, on July 23.

Myanmar set up its line-up with a 5-4-1 formation against a strong Australia in the hope of securing one point from a drawn match. Five defenders were fielded in the defensive zone. But defensive blunders paved way for the visiting powerhouse team to enjoy goal chances.

Five minutes from the start of the game, Australia scored the first goal from a close-range shot by Kamau. Myanmar conceded the goal because of an untidy blunder by he defenders. Myanmar had to rely on striker Aung Thum, who won the 2014 Asean Football Federation's best young player award.

In the 14th minute of the first half,  Aung Thu kicked the ball towards the opponents’ goal net in a strong effort, but the Australian goalie made the  save.  

The visitors secured the second goal from the corner in the 31st minute. Myanmar’s goalie Phone Thitsar Min tapped out the ball, but it hit the head of the Australian captain in front of the goal post and went into Myanmar’s goal net.

In the second half, Myanmar raised its attacking momentum in order to see an equaliser. Midfielder Maung Maung Lwin and  Aung Thu seized on goal chances resulting from the blunders of the Australian goalie. But these couldn’t be converted into goals. Maung Maung Lwin’s kick went wide from the post. Aung Thu’s kick was cleared by an Australian defender in time.

Myanmar secured second place in Group F, but did not make it in the best group’s second place as it stood in eighth position. Therefore, Myanmar missed the chance of advancing to the Asian U-23 qualifier.

The last round of the tournament will be hosted in China, who are included in the qualifying teams, so the best group’s second placed teams became six in total.