Myanmar secure win vs. Cambodia before Malaysia AFF showdown
YANGON -- Myanmar set up an enthralling final AFF Suzuki Cup Group B showdown against Malaysia after a blistering display to dispose of Cambodia 3-1, thanks to a brace from Zaw Min Tun, at a packed Thuwunna Stadium on Wednesday.
The comeback win puts Gerd Zeise's men above the Harimau Malaysia in the group, ahead of their anticipated clash on Saturday.
The co-hosts knew that only a win would boost their chances of a semifinal berth, so they came at Cambodia from kickoff.
But after Kaung Set Naing went close with two efforts, Cambodia shocked them through Sos Suhana's guided finish in the 14th minute.
The White Angels refused to let their heads drop, and kept charging with pace at Cambodia. Sos and Aung Thu supplied the artillery.
Aung Thu, who scored in the 2-1 defeat to Vietnam in the opening match, had a shot saved by Sou Yaty, and the goalkeeper had to be at his best to deny Sos shortly after.
Myanmar's endeavour finally paid off in the 36th minute, with a deserved equaliser.
Zaw thrived from a mercurial free kick delivery from Nanda Kyaw, and dispatched a deft header past Sou.
Four minutes later, the Yangon United defender got the 20,000 fans bouncing with another headed goal, through another set piece.
Again, the assist came through Nanda, who floated in a delicious, in-swinging corner, and Kyaw complimented his efforts by planting the ball into the bottom corner.
Myanmar left the field well worth their money at the break, and emerged with the same hunger to see off the game.
Aung Thu did just that in the 56th minute, firing home from close range to put the home side in the driving seat.
Cambodia tried in vain to fashion another goal that would put them back in the contest, but failed to do so to be dumped out of the competition.
For Myanmar, the do-or-die test against Malaysia on Saturday couldn't have come at a better time, given this phenomenal display.
Vietnam edged Myanmar 2-1 last Sunday night before a 1-0 victory over Malaysia on Wednesday afternoon to make the final matchday of Group B a battle for second spot.
Cambodia: Sou Yaty (GK), Nen Sothearoth, Sam Oeun Pidor, Prak Mony Udom, Keo Sokpheng, Chan Wathanaka (C), Sos Suhana, Nub Tola, Chreng Polroth, Sok Sovan, Ruos Sam Oeun
Myanmar: Kyaw Zin Phyo (GK), Zaw Min Tun, David Htan, Nanda Kyaw, Yan Aung Kyaw (C), Kaung Set Naing, Aung Thu, Myo Ko Tun, Kyaw Zin Lwin, Phyo Ko Ko Thein, Mg Mg Lwin
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.