AFF U-19: Myanmar, Malaysia set for final duel

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Myanmar and Malaysia will meet in the final of the 2018 AFF U-19 Championship after both advanced from the semi-finals on Thursday.

Myanmar were in action earlier in the day when they took on defending champions Thailand, and it proved to be a tight affair at the Gelora Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo.

But, with four minutes remaining, a sweeping counterattack saw Win Naing Tun break free and race onto a fine through-pass before keeping his cool to finish calmly stroking his shot into the back of the net.

And, with the Thais unable to find an equaliser in the closing stages of the tie, it was Myanmar who sealed their first final appearance since 2005.

Interestingly enough, they will meet the same opponents they faced 13 years ago in Malaysia, who defeated hosts Indonesia on penalties following a 1-1 draw later on Thursday evening.

It was Indonesia who drew first blood as wonderkid Egy Maulana got his side off to a dream start when he opened the scoring after just two minutes.

But Syaiful Alias equalised in the 14th minute and, with neither side able to find the back of the net again thereafter, the contest was then to be decided by the dreaded shootout.

And, in the end, it was the Malaysia who held their nerve, prevailing 3-2 on penalties to reach the final for the second year running.

Both Myanmar and Malaysia have already met once in the group stage of the tournament just two days ago, with the Young Tigers prevailing on that occasion.

Photo credit: Myanmar Football Federation