Singapore's SEA Games hopes in tatters after Malaysia stun Myanmar
Facing their strongest competition yet in the competition, Ong Kim Swee's charges are now in a strong position to top the group, while also ensuring rival Singapore’s tournament has come to an end.
Malaysia only need a draw against Laos on Wednesday to go top and await their semi-final opponents
Over 75,000 filled the stadium to the brim as Malaysia hit the ground running for the first time in the competition, following poor first-half displays against Brunei and Singapore in their previous victories.
Myanmar, who had defeated Singapore, Laos and Brunei to set the pace in the group, could not break the Malaysian defence down for most parts of the match.
Gerd Zeise's men still top the group on goal difference, but Malaysia only need a draw against Laos on Wednesday to go top and await their semi-final opponents from Group B, where Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are locked in a three-way battle.
Thanabalan gave the Malaysians the lead in the 33rd minute after sticking his leg out to turn in Matthew Davies' attempted shot at goal.
Malaysia stunned the visitors further just two minutes later after Kumaahran's inch-perfect cross was met by a diving Safawi Rasid.
Thanabalan then added his second in the 82nd minute to give Malaysia a three-goal cushion.
Myanmar scored a consolation goal through substitute Than Paing after catching the Malaysian defence off guard, but it mattered little as the home side took control of Group A.
Singapore still had a tiny hope of qualifying if Malaysia lost their remaining matches and the Lions could beat Brunei on Wednesday, but that match now represents a dead rubber and Richard Tardy's players can now start looking towards 2019.