Myanmar have claimed the men’s football bronze medal at SEA Games 2019 after keeping their cool to beat Cambodia 5-4 on penalties following a 2-2 draw at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.
Cambodia, the surprise package of the tournament, were looking to claim their first-ever football medal in SEA Games history and could not have asked for a better start.
With just 18 seconds on the clock, Sieng Chanthea linked up well with Keo Sokpheng down the left and broke free inside the area, before squeezing his shot from an acute angle past Sann Sat Naing.
Myanmar managed to equalise eight minutes later when an enterprising run by Win Moe Kyaw saw him leave three opponents in his wake before he shifted the ball out wide to Nay Moe Naing, who swung in a first-time cross that was instinctively met by Aung Kaung Mann with a perfectly-placed header into the far corner.
Five minutes after the half-hour mark, Myanmar then took the lead when Myat Kaung Khant lined up a freekick just outside the box and curled away a sublime left-footed effort that had Cambodia goalkeeper Keo Soksela rooted to the spot.
But anything Kaung Khant could do, Sokpheng could as well and he duly levelled the scores for Cambodia in the 71st minute with a terrific curling freekick that clipped the underside of the bar before bouncing over the line.
With neither team able to find a winner in the remainder of the 90 minutes, the tie then straight to the dreaded penalty shootout and the first nine spot-kicks were impeccably converted.
Nonetheless, with the final regulation penalty, it was stalwart Sokpheng – who has been one of his country’s favourite footballing sons in recent times – who emerged as the fall guy as his firmly-struck effort came back off the post, denying Cambodia what would have been a historic feat and handing Myanmar their fifth bronze medal in the tournament’s history.
Photo credit: Myanmar Football Federation