Myanmar Sneaks into Merdeka Cup final

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Myanmar registered a 2-0 win over Singapore at the Temerloh Municipality Stadium today to sneak into Saturday’s final of the 41st Merdeka Tournament.

Goals from Kyaw Ko Ko (15th minute) and Soe Kyaw Kyaw (89th minute) was good enough to see them edge Thailand, who succumbed to a 3-0 defeat against the Malaysians at the Darul Makmur Stadium. Both Myanmar and Thailand shared four equal points after today’s encounters but the 2013 Southeast Asian Games (SEA) Games hosts qualified on superior goal difference.

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Singapore goalkeeper Neezam Abdul Aziz goes airborne in his attempt to save a header from Myanmar’s Kyaw Ko Ko in the Merdeka Tournament match at the Temerloh Municipality Stadium today.

Myanmar took the field without keys players Kyi Lin who is serving a one-match suspension while skipper Khaw Zayar is nursing injuries sustained in earlier matches.

On the opposite end, Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy could only watch his charges from the terrace following a one-match suspension served by the disciplinary committee for protesting vehemently against match referee Win Htut in Monday’s 1-0 defeat by Thailand.

It was Myanmar who first tested Singapore’s third-choice goalkeeper Neezam Abdul Aziz five minutes into the game with a stiff grounder shot from Nay Lin Tun which Neezam did well to hold the threat.

But the Singaporeans rose from the early seismic shock and pressed on the attacking mode which saw them having a clear chance in the 10th minute when all striker Muhammad Khairul Nizam had to do was beat goalkeeper Phaye Phyo Aung in a one-to-one situation. Instead, he shot wide.

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Myanmar and Singapore players tussle for the ball in the 41st Merdeka Tournament match at the Temerloh Municipality Stadium tonight.

For all the early misses, Myanmar’s aggressive style of play was simply too much for their opponents as went 1-0 up by the 15th minutes, thanks to a header from their most reliable playmaker Ko Ko which sent Neezam outstretched.

And as the match wore on, midfielder Soe Kyaw Kyaw knocked home a late header, picking off a cross from Kaung Sithu, which left Singapore returning home bruised and battered.

It also saw Myanmar, the 2006 Merdeka Tournament champions; qualify for their eighth final since the inception of the tournament 40 years ago.

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