Myanmar's national football side was bundled out of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup after a 2-0 loss to the Philippines at Bangkok’s Supachalasai Stadium on November 30.
Myanmar’s competition had begun with a 1-1 draw against Vietnam but the side was humiliated 4-0 by Thailand in the second match, leaving it needing a big win against the Philippines to progress out of Group A. Instead, the loss left Myanmar bottom of the group.
Many ardent Myanmar supporters swarmed to the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok giving the side something close to a home ground advantage.
Head coach Park Sung Hwa had said from the beginning of the tournament that he was not confident of progressing from the group because many first pick players were injured. However, team manager Tin Myint Aung said other factors had contributed to the team’s poor showing.
“We lost because I think our players are physically small and they still lack football skills. They were very tired today and we lost, even though we wanted to win for our country,” he said.
The result was also the first time that Myanmar has lost to the Philippines, nicknamed the “Azkals”.
Azkals’ midfielder Simon Greatwich said the win proved that the team’s semi-finals finish in 2010 was no fluke.
“[It’s a] Great day for Philippine football. The ‘whipping boys’ of Asia [are] into the semi-final of the Suzuki Cup once again,” he said.
Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado both scored a goal in the match.
The Philippines showed a strong defensive game early in the first half, with their backline consistently thwarting Myanmar’s attempts to press for goal. One clear chance was created by Kyi Lin, who floated a cross to Aung Moe in the 13th minute but the attempt was foiled by keeper Ed Sacapaño.
Another chance came from Myanmar’s David Htan towards the end of the half but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
The Azkals came out firing in the second half, with Phil Younghusband, who had been unloading long-range shots against the Myanmar in the first half, finally find his mark from close range in the 47th minute after controlling a long pass from Jason de Jong, before going past three defenders and scoring the Philippines’ first goal.
At the 55th-minute mark, Kaung Si Thi unleashed a dangerous attempt at goal as he breached the penalty area but Sacapaño was again on hand and cleared the attempt with a reflex save.
The Philippines nearly bagged a second goal in the 64th minute, but Angel Guirado’s header bounced off the post.
In the 93rd minute, Guirado caught a long pass and secured the Azkals’ semifinal seat by escaping Myanmar’s defense to make it 2-0.
With the win, the Azkals will join host team Thailand in the knockout stage.
For Myanmar, the loss means the team will have to fight through qualification rounds to enter the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup.