Singapore U23 1 Myanmar U23 2: Lacklustre Young Lions stunned

The Singapore U23s' hopes of progression to the SEA Games football semi-finals took a blow on Thursday night as they fell to a shock 1-2 defeat against Myanmar U23s.

Nay Lin Tun opened the scoring for Myanmar midway through the first half, before Faris Ramli equalised from the penalty spot.

However it was the Young White Angels who claimed the victory on the night via a fortuitous long-range freekick from Ye Ko Oo on the hour mark.

Aide Iskandar’s boys threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Myanmar as time ticked down, but there was no stopping the visitors from claiming their second successive win in Group A.

There was only one change to Aide’s starting eleven after an opening 1-0 win against the Philippines U23, with hard man Pravin Guanasagaran coming in for Shamil Sherif.

The 22-year-old took little time to introduce himself to the public as he headed clear from Si Thu Aung’s free kick inside the first five minutes.

At the other end, Sahil Suhaimi got the end of a couple of through balls, but was unable to stretch Myanmar keeper Kyaw Zin Phyo.

Pravin could have made his mark on 22 minutes when he leapt the highest to reach Safirul Sulaiman’s inswinging corner, but his resulting header could only clear the bar.

That miss would prove costly just two minutes later as Myanmar broke the deadlock via a set piece play.

Captain Lin Tun was at the right place at the right time to bundle home Zone Moe Aung’s  brilliant inswinging freekick, after Shine Thura was brought down by Shakir Hamzah just outside the area.

Stung by the setback, the Young Lions threw numbers forward and their efforts were rewarded in the 34th minute.

Shakir’s left-wing cross was adjudged to have been handled inside the area by Phyo Ko Ko Thein, paving the way for Faris to level matters via a calmly-taken spot kick.

Things could have gotten even better for them three minutes later, as winger Stanely Ng was just inches away from connecting with Adam Swandi’s cutback.

Irfan Fandi was summoned off the bench in the second half to replace the ineffectual Ng, but it was the plucky visitors who managed to retake the lead on the hour mark.

Ko Oo’s speculative 35-yard free kick took a bounce off the turf before evading Syazwan and nestling into the bottom left corner.

Aide threw on Suria Prakash as the Singapore U23s were made to chase the game again, as the winger made an immediate impact with his ability to draw fouls in the attacking third.

However there was no getting past the Myanmar defence who was content to clear every long ball that came their way.

Irfan thought he had scored the equaliser in the 78th minute when he forced the ball home from close range, but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for an earlier infringement on Zin Phyo.

Sahil’s 20-yard free kick sailed just wide of the left-hand post, before Sheikh Abdul Hadi’s instinctive touch from a half-cleared corner went over.

There was one last opportunity for Irfan deep into injury time, but he was unable to put Hadi’s crossfield ball on target.

The final whistle soon followed, with the Young Lions players slumping onto the ground in sheer disappointment.

They will now have to bounce back in four days’ time against the Cambodia U23s, if not risk early elimination from the tournament.

Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo