SEA Games Review: Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam continue flying starts
Malaysia are on the brink of elimination after Thailand edged a 1-0 win, while Vietnam remained in the driving seat in Group B after beating Laos by the same scoreline.
Meanwhile in Group A, mistakes cost hosts Singapore dearly as they went down 1-2 to unbeaten Myanmar.
Malaysia 0 Thailand 1
FULL HIGHLIGHTS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d0C2eTWTdo
The Thais created several opportunities in the first half and should perhaps have put a couple of them away, but midfielder Thitiphan Puangjan was guilty of heading off-target from Narubadin Weerawatnodom’s crosses.
Then it was the Malaysians who went close just before the hour mark when M. Nurridzuan flicked a header into the path of Syahrul Azwari, but the latter’s dipping 20-yard shot was tipped wide by Thai keeper Chanin Sae-Ear.
Just when it seemed like the match was heading for a goalless draw, it was the defending champions who managed to break the deadlock on 81 minutes.
Captain Sarach Yooyen received a slide-rule pass from substitute Tristan Do, before unleashing a sizzling left-footed shot from 25 yards out which was too hot for Malaysia keeper Farhan Abu Bakar to handle.
That eventually proved to be the difference between both sides.
Vietnam 1 Laos 0
FULL HIGHLIGHTS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yES0Ivrzs4
Despite resting a couple of key players in Vo Huy Toan and Mac Hong Quan, the Vietnamese were dominant in the first half with Le Thanh Binh forcing Laos keeper Vathana Keodouangdeth to parry his close-range shot.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 65th minute via a rasping 25-yard drive from substitute Nguyen Thanh Hien which arrowed past Vathana, after Bounthavy Sipasong had halted Nguyen Cong Phuong in his tracks.
Second-half substitute Mac then forced Vathana to backtrack in order to keep his looping header out, but there was no stopping Vietnam from claiming yet another victory.
Singapore 1 Myanmar 2
FULL HIGHLIGHTS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4yn8UyEkMI
After a tentative opening period, it was Myanmar who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute as captain Nay Lin Tun timed his run perfectly to bundle home Zone Moe Aung’s brilliant inswinging freekick.
The Young Lions levelled matters 12 minutes later through Faris Ramli’s coolly-taken spotkick, after Shakir Hamzah’s crossed was adjudged to have been handled inside the area by Myanmar centre-back Phyo Ko Ko Thein.
However it was the visitors who claimed the three points on the night as Ye Ko Oo’s speculative 35-yard free kick skidded off the turf before bouncing beyond the reach of Syazwan Bahari in the Singapore goal.
Photo: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee/ Action Images via Reuters