AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Myanmar come from behind to down Cambodia

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Myanmar came from behind to beat Cambodia 4-1 on Monday and get their AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 Group A campaign off to a winning start.

It was the Cambodians who surprisingly enjoyed the better of the proceedings in the first half at the Mandalarthiri Stadium as they took the game on to the hosts, who are widely regarded as one of the tournament’s main contenders.

Deservingly, they took the lead in the 23rd minute when an incisive pass by Reung Bunheing sent Sos Suhana racing in behind the opposition defence, where he unselfishly laid the ball past opposition keeper Kyaw Zin Htet to leave Chan Vathanaka with a simple tap-in.

But the defining moment of the game arguably arrived at the start of the second half when – while Myanmar introduced star man Aung Thu – Cambodia had to replace their own talisman Vathanaka presumably due to injury.

Aung Thu had an immediate impact as the Cambodian defence stood off whenever he had the ball, allowing him to create opportunites for both Sithu Aung and Zin Min Tun which were fired wide from.

Nonetheless, the equaliser finally came a minute before the hour mark when Thein Than Win did well to hit the byline down the left and hang up a ball for Hlaing Bo Bo to meet with a sweetly-struck volley into the back of the net.

Aung Thu then spurned a glorious chance to put the hosts ahead after Soeuy Visal had been penalised for handball inside the area, as his 68th-minute penalty was smartly saved by Keo Soksela.

However, Soksela undid his good work a minute later when he dropped a high ball and, although Aung Thu’s initial shot was blocked, Than Htet Aung was on hand to send a follow-up effort into the back of the net.

From then on, the momentum was always in Myanmar’s favour and Sithu Aung made sure of the three points in the 87th minute when he netted on the rebound after Maung Maung Lwin’s initial curler was saved by Soksela.

And, in the third minute of injury-time, Hlaing Bo Bo capped off a fine comeback with his second of the evening, again making a excellent late run into the box and finishing off Sithu Aung’s pinpoint delivery.

MYANMAR: Kyaw Zin Htet, David Htan, Zaw Min Tun, Thein Than Win, Pyae Phyo Zaw, Hlaing Bo Bo, Lwin Moe Aung (Ye Ko Oo 79’), Maung Maung Lwin, Yan Naing Oo (Aung Thu 46’), Sithu Aung, Zin Min Tun (Than Htet Aung 63’).

CAMBODIA: Keo Soksela, Sareth Krya, Hong Pheng, Soeuy Visal, Sath Rosib, Kouch Sokumpheak, Thierry Chantha Bin, Sos Suhana (Prak Mony Udom 61’), Chan Vathanaka (Chhin Chhoeun 46’), Brak Thiva (Keo Sokpheng 72’), Reung Bunheing.