Simon McMenemy’s Indonesia had to sweat it out to defeat Myo Min Tun’s Myanmar 2-0 in an international friendly held at the Mandalarthiri Stadium in Mandalay on Monday.
Though positioned 21 ranks below their opponents in the FIFA World Rankings, Indonesia were expected to record a positive result against the hosts in their Scottish coach’s debut, but found Myanmar stubborn under caretaker boss Min Tun.
Chances were even in the opening minutes of the game with Greg Nwokolo and Nyein Chang Aung going close for Indonesia and Myanmar respectively. Indonesia looked to have taken the lead in the 21st minute when Stefano Lilipaly shrug off his defender, rounded the Myanmar keeper and fired a shot at the goal.
However, defender Zaw Min Tun made a crucial intervention as he headed the ball over the goal in a brilliant goal line clearance. Pacy winger Riko Simanjuntuk would also go close a few minutes later when he tried to lob the ball over the goalkeeper, but missed his mark.
Kyaw Zin Phyo further denied Lilipaly with a save before the half-hour mark as Indonesia came closer and closer to breaking the deadlock. The goal eventually came in the 41st minute and it was Nwokolo who fired Tim Garuda ahead with a low drive past the keeper.
However, Indonesia’s celebrations looked to be short-lived when the referee pointed to the spot in favour of the hosts before halftime. However, fortunately for the visitors, Chang Aung’s penalty was met with a brilliant save from their goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa who maintained the 1-0 lead heading into the interval.
Myanmar had a few chances to equalise in the second half as well, but some good saves from Andritany as well as lack of finishing boots let the Asian Lions down. And to pile on their misery, referee pointed to the spot again towards the death of the game — this time in favour of the Indonesians.
Substitute Ilija Spasojevic assumed the responsibility for the spot kick and slotted it past the Myanmar goalkeeper to seal a 2-0 win for the visitors.