Lions Beaten 2-1 By Myanmar

A second-half free-kick from Ko Oo Ye consigned Singapore Under-23s (U23) to a 2-1 defeat in their second Group A game against Myanmar U23.

Nay Lin Tun had initially given Myanmar the lead in the first half, before Faris Ramli equalised from the spot ten minutes later. Ye struck in the second half to give his side the winner.

While Myanmar dominated possession mostly in the first half, it was the hosts who enjoyed a plethora of chances, although they wasted most of it.

Sahil Suhaimi had a golden opportunity with just two minutes on the clock after latching onto Aung Si Thu’s poor clearance, but the striker shot over instead.

Safirul Sulaiman followed suit three minutes later before Sahil blasted a free-kick from 25 yards over.

At the other end, Myanmar almost crafted out a chance from a set-piece, but Pravin Guanasagaran was alert and managed to head the ball behind for a corner instead.

Sahil then continued his wastefulness in front of goal, before Pravin headed narrowly over after rising highest to meet Safirul’s corner.

Myanmar took the lead in the 24th minute through Nay Lin Tun, after he escaped his marker’s attention to bundle home Aung Zone Moe’s free-kick.

Singapore tried to force an immediate equaliser, but Sahil saw his volley blocked once more.

Their pressure paid off eventually in the 34th minute. The referee pointed to the spot following a handball by Aung inside the area, and Faris dispatched it into the top corner for the equaliser.

The Young Lions almost took the lead a couple of minutes later following a good move, but Stanely Ng was unable to make contact with Adam Swandi’s driven cross.

The home side came out of the second half more determined and could have gone ahead a minute after the restart, but Pravin drilled his effort  inches wide of the left post from just outside the area.

It was the visitors who retook the lead instead on the hour mark, after goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari misjudged the trajectory of the ball and allowed Ko Oo Ye’s low free-kick to bounce into goal.

Sahil had a great opportunity eight minutes later after Irfan Fandi nodded on a long ball from Syazwan, but he fired over instead.

Faris then forced a save from Kyaw Zin from just outside the area in the 73rd minute, before Irfan put the ball into the net only for the referee to disallow it for a foul on Kyaw Zin.

A rare mistake from Kyaw Zin presented Sheikh Hadi with a chance, but his improvised shot was off the target.

Singapore kept piling on the pressure and in the last minute of injury time, Irfan managed to get onto the end of Sheikh’s cross, but he headed agonisingly wide from point-blank range.

That put paid to Singapore’s hopes of finding the equaliser, with the referee blowing the full-time whistle seconds later.

After the match, Singapore U23 coach Aide Iskandar thought his boys were unlucky to lose after putting up a battling performance.

“I’m not here to point fingers at anybody, we win as a team and we lose as a team,” Aide said. “In general, we did well. Myanmar did not trouble us with many chances. We created chances, yet we did not score and in order to win games we need to score.

“I have to take my hats off, the players tried hard and fought. We have to thank the fans for coming and staying till the final whistle. The boys have showed and they kept battling. Today’s performance is better than the one against Philippines even.”

Meanwhile, Myanmar coach Kyi Lwin thought it was indeed a tough match against Singapore.

He said: “Singapore is the host team, and it was very difficult to play against them but we hope they will win the next two matches and make it through.”

Singapore line-up: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Al-Qaasimy Rahman (C), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, M Anumanthan, Shakir Hamzah, Pravin Guanasagaran, Safirul Sulaiman (Suria Prakash 69’), Adam Swandi, Stanley Ng (Irfan Fandi 57’), Faris Ramli (Amy Recha 89’), Sahil Suhaimi

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