Singapore to meet Indonesia; Thais face Malaysia, Vietnam

Hosts Singapore’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a boost on Wednesday after they were handed a fairly favourable draw.

Seeded as hosts for the Under-23 tournament, the Lions were drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

With only the top two progressing to the last four, it looks like Singapore will be battling for qualification with the Indonesians and Myanmar.

Nonetheless, Cambodia will be confident in their prospects having recorded a 2-1 win over Singapore just last month, while Philippines have taken huge strides in recent years and are now considered a legitimate threat in the region.

But it appears most of the drama will come in Group B after defending champions Thailand were pitted against 2011 winners Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.

Under Kiatisuk Senamuang, who also guided the senior team to victory at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Thais are favourites to finish top with Malaysia and Vietnam expected to battle it out for the second qualifying berth.

However, with the likes of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Ketsada Souksavanh to call upon, Laos could just spring an upset or two along the way.

2015 Southeast Asian Games Draw

Group A: Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines

Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste

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Rahmad pleased after Indonesia book SEA Games semis berth

Indonesia Under-23 coach Rahmad Darmawan praised his side for the way they coped with Myanmar after they claimed a 1-0 win at the Thuwunna Stadium on Monday.

Merah Putih booked their place in the semi-finals of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after edging the hosts in a feisty encounter; Alfin Tuasalamony scoring the winner from the spot in the 36th minute after he had been tripped inside the area by opposition keeper Pyae Phyo Aung.

The result saw them finish second in Group B ahead of Myanmar based on their head-to-head record after both ended the group stage level on seven points.

Given Myanmar only needed to avoid defeat to progress, Indonesia did extremely well to put them under pressure from the opening whistle, as well as keep them at bay in the second half when Park Sung-hwa’s charges were hunting for an equaliser.

And given his side ultimately managed to nullify an attack that had scored seven goals in their previous three games, Rahmad had words of praise for them at the final whistle.

“Today [Monday] we showed good character,” he said.

“We tried to press them and stay organised. We didn’t give them many chances and we always kept the pressure on each player.

“Our plan was just to not give any chances to the opponents, because they have two or three very good players who are very speedy.”

In what was a highly-charged affair, the Myanmar supporters’ wrath was incurred on numerous occasions, including when their opponents were awarded the penalty as well as when Ye Lin Aung was sent off in injury-time.

However, Rahmad believes the referee got the crucial decisions correct.

“I thought the referee was good,” he added. “At times there were mistakes but it’s normal as there were many spectators and it can affect the concentration.

“I think the red card was deserved as it was unsporting behaviour.

“The penalty? 100 per cent. You can see it on the replay.”

Indonesia will find out who their last-four opponents are on Tuesday when defending champions Malaysia take on Vietnam for top spot in Group A.

Myanmar pay the penalty as Indonesia join Thailand in semis

Hosts Myanmar were eliminated from the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after falling to a 1-0 defeat to Indonesia on Monday evening.

Entering the game three points ahead of their opponents, Myanmar only needed to avoid defeat to guarantee their place in the last four.

However, they fell behind in the 36th minute when Alfin Tuasalamony fired home a penalty, after he had been brought down inside the area by opposition goalkeeper Pyae Phyo Aung.

Merah Putih could have doubled their lead two minutes before the break when Fandi Eko Utomo burst into the box and send a rasping drive just over the bar.

Eager to add more firepower to an attack that was already missing the injured Kyi Lin, Myanmar coach Park Sung-hwa brought on Kyaw Ko Ko at the start of the second half and his presence did give the Indonesians more to worry about.

Nonetheless, their best chance came ten minutes from time when a loose ball fell to Kaung Sithu on the edge of the box, but he was only able to send a cracking half-volley narrowly wide of the top corner.

And with their hopes fast evaporating, Myanmar’s frustration boiled over in injury-time as they were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Ye Lin Aung.

As the final whistle blew, it was Merah Putih who were left celebrating as their opponents became the first hosts since Philippines in 2005 to fail in making the semi-finals.

The result also meant Thailand finished top of Group B following their 0-0 draw with Cambodia earlier in the day, and they will now meet Singapore in the semi-finals.

Monday’s 2013 SEA Games Group B Results

Thailand 0-0 Cambodia

Indonesia 1-0 Myanmar

Park content with Myanmar display despite wasteful ways

Myanmar Under-23 coach Park Sung-hwa was happy with his side’s display despite seeing them waste a host of chances in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Thailand.

The White Angels took the lead in their 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Group B clash at the Thuwunna Stadium in the 33rd minute, when Nay Lin Tun found space in the box and scored with a towering header.

However, Thailand forced the draw two minutes after the break when thanks to a Pravinwat Boonyong effort, and the result leaves them top of the group ahead of Myanmar on goals scored with just one match-day remaining.

The hosts only need to avoid a four-goal defeat against Indonesia on Monday to book their place in the semi-finals, but they could have wrapped up qualification had they been able to make the most of their chances against the War Elephants; Kyaw Zayar Win the biggest culprit as he was extremely wasteful in front of goal.

Nonetheless, Park refused to be overly critical of his captain as he revealed his contentment at the draw, although he was disappointed that Kyaw Ko Ko’s 87th-minute strike had been chalked off.

“I did not think it would end 1-1 but I’m pleased with the result,” he said.

“Kyaw Zayar Win had a lot of chances but unfortunately he couldn’t finish them off today [Saturday] but it’s alright. I have faith in him – he will do well in the next game.

“My team played well today [Saturday] so it’s unfortunate that we conceded early in the second half. I was disappointed that the linesman disallowed our goal near the end.

“But apart from that, I’m happy with my team’s performance.”

Myanmar did have to do without star forward Kyi Lin for much of the game after he came off injured in the 25th minute.

But although the Yangon United star was ruled out of Monday’s game, Park remains confident his side can get the result they need against the Indonesians.

“Kyi Lin will miss the next match,” the South Korean revealed. “But it [the injury] doesn’t look as serious as it seemed at first.

“I’ve studied Indonesia a lot. They have a good chance and they have good tactics, but we will do our best against them and hopefully qualify for the semi-finals.”

Although Myanmar used to be regarded as minnows in Southeast Asia, they have taken huge strides in the past decade and many believe they could go all the way and claim the gold medal.

Still, Park admits making the final will be difficult regardless of who from Group A they face in the last four.

“In the past, we have lost to Malaysia and Vietnam so I want to avoid them,” he added.

“But Singapore are also in form now so playing them could be dangerous as well.”

Myanmar’s best display at the SEA Games since it became an Under-23 tournament was back in 2007, when they finished as runners-up after losing to hosts Thailand in the final.

Thailand, Myanmar draw to stay joint-top of Group B

Thailand and Myanmar stayed joint-top of Group B in the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after both played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

It was the hosts who took the lead at the Thuwunna Stadium when Nay Lin Tun struck in the 33rd minute; rising highest in the opposition area and finding the net with a powerful header.

However, Thailand hit back two minutes after the break when Pravinwat Boonyong netted for the second match in a row, which ultimately proved enough to force the draw.

The result leaves the War Elephants top of the group ahead of Myanmar on goals scored as both have a goal difference of five.

In Saturday’s earlier kickoff, Indonesia’s hopes of making the semi-finals were dealt a real blow as they were held to a 0-0 draw by neighbours Timor Leste.

Group B action concludes on Monday and Myanmar only need to avoid a four-goal defeat to Merah Putih to progress, while Thailand can guarantee their spot in the last four with anything better than a draw against bottom side Cambodia.

Saturday’s 2013 SEA Games Group B Results

Timor Leste 0-0 Indonesia

Thailand 1-1 Myanmar

Indonesia get off the mark; two in a row for Myanmar

Indonesia opened their 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games campaign on Monday afternoon with a hard-earned 1-0 win over Cambodia at the Thuwunna Stadium.

Merah Putih, who were not in action in Group B’s opening match day at the weekend, were expected to comfortably see off a Cambodia side that were beaten 3-0 by Myanmar on Saturday.

However, their opponents showed plenty of fight although Indonesia ultimately claimed all three points thanks to Yandi Sofyan Munawar’s 53rd-minute winner.

In the day’s late kickoff, hosts Myanmar moved top of the group by making it two wins from two after beating Timor Leste 3-1.

Captain Kyaw Zayar Win fired the White Angels ahead after 13 minutes when his lovely freekick had Ramos Manxances beaten all ends up, but the Timorese stunned the home crowd by equalising seven minutes before the break; Jairo Neto stabbing home on the rebound after his initial header had been saved by Pyae Phyo Aung.

But in the 72nd minute, Myanmar reclaimed the lead through a Kyaw Ko Ko penalty after Paulo Martins had committed a foul on Kyi Lin, who then wrapped up the win six minutes later with a fine individual effort.

The win was enough to keep the hosts top of Group B, while Thailand and Indonesia, who have both played only one game, remain joint-second with three points.

Monday’s 2013 SEA Games Group B Results

Cambodia 0-1 Indonesia

Myanmar 3-1 Timor Leste

Thailand, Myanmar open SEA Games campaign with victories

13-time champions Thailand opened their 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games campaign on Saturday with a win after beating Group B opponents Timor Leste 3-1 at the Thuwunna Stadium.

It took midfielder Thitipan Puangchan just two minutes to open the scoring for the War Elephants, before Police United midfielder Pokkhao Anan doubled their tally four minutes after the half-hour mark.

Artit Daosawang then pushed forward and added a third two minutes after the break to kill off the contest, although Timor Leste did manage to grab a consolation in the 72nd minute through a Jose Fonseca effort.

In Group B’s other match, hosts Myanmar also got off to a winning start after cruising to a 3-0 win over Cambodia.

Myanmar edged ahead in the 16th minute when Zaw Min Tun broke the deadlock, before star striker Kyaw Ko Ko added a second 11 minutes before the break.

Two minutes into the second half, Ko Ko netted his second of the evening to wrap up the three points for Park Seong-hwa’s men and get their gold medal bid off to the perfect start.

Saturday’s 2013 SEA Games Group B Results

Thailand 3-1 Timor Leste

Myanmar 3-0 Cambodia