2016 AFF Championship, Group Stage
  • David Htan (89')

Malaysia knocked out of the AFF Suzuki Cup after loss to Myanmar

Malaysia captain Amri Yahyah v Myanmar asiana.my

YANGON -- Myanmar sent Malaysia crashing out of the AFF Suzuki Cup, as David Htan smashed home an 88th minute goal to inspire the co-hosts to a deserved 1-0 triumph, and a semifinal meeting with Thailand, at a capacity Thuwunna Stadium on Saturday.

It was nothing more than Myanmar deserved, as the White Angels were the superior side over the 90 minutes, having missed an early penalty.

For Malaysia, defeat marked the first time they failed to make the last four since 2008.

Datuk Ong Kim Swee's men hardly merited any positives from the group stage, and now face the prospect of shake ups and rebuilding in a transitional phase.

Knowing only victory would suffice for a place in the semifinals, the Malaysians began confidently.

Ahmad Hazwan Bakri almost gave them the lead in the sixth minute. The Selangor forward was, however, unlucky to see his shot cannon off the post, with Kyaw Zin Phyo beaten.

From then on, the home side went on to dictate proceedings.

Aung Thu was the instigator of all Myanmar's penetration, and only the fingertips of Khairul Fahmi's full-stretched dive denied the forward from a free kick in the 10th minute.

Two minutes later, Aung Thu's trickery in the box earned Myanmar a penalty after he was felled by Hazwan Bakri.

However, his weak spot kick that was easily gathered by Khairul Fahmi to throw Malaysia a lifeline.

Myanmar refused to be disheartened, and continued to boss play. Kaung Set Naing and Aung Thu pulled the strings, as the Malaysians resorted to hit-and-hope tactics.

It was Aung Thu who again came close just before the half ended, hitting the upright from another curling free kick, with Khairul Fahmi rooted.

Malaysia laboured to fashion any worthy openings after the break, not even having a shot on target.

As the game entered the closing stages, Ong threw on Darren Lok and Safee Sali in the hope of finding that priceless goal. But almost every attack Malaysia tried to fashion was disjointed.

They were punished for their inefficiency two minutes from the end. Than had the time, and space to bury a low effort, putting Myanmar into the semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Myanmar fans were full of voice at the final whistle, and this young side looks one of promise for the future.

They finished second in Group B, behind Vietnam, who defeated Cambodia 2-1 in the other match on Saturday, despite being reduced to 10 men early in the first half.

Myanmar will face Thailand in the two-legged semifinals on Dec. 4 (home) and Dec. 8 (away). Vietnam will play Indonesia on Dec. 3 (away) and Dec. 7 (home).