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Football: Burma’s hopes hang by a thread

The Burmese national football team’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup hang by a thread after it lost 4-2 to Singapore in a thrilling encounter on Wednesday night.

With Thailand defeating Malaysia 3-2 in the other Group B fixture, Burma is now lodged at the foot of the table with one point alongside Malaysia. Thailand has a 100 percent record with six points and the Singaporeans have four points. This means Burma must convincingly beat Thailand in the final match and hope that Malaysia beats Singapore by a single goal.

But the Burmese can once again feel proud of their performance. Indeed they looked dead and buried in the first half when Singapore marched into a comfortable 3-0 before the interval. Playing in front of a passionate home crowd at the National Stadium, Singapore went ahead as early as the 15th minute when Shaiful Esah scored from a free-kick. The Lions then netted another two just before half-time.


Burma had been playing a rather defensive 4-4-1-1 formation, but came out for the second half with an attacking attitude and began launching feverish assaults on the opponents’ goal. The Singaporean crowd were hushed when Kyaw Zayar Win pounced first to score, followed by a penalty which Kyaw Ko Ko converted. Suddenly it looked like the impossible was possible.

But 15 minutes from time, a cruel deflection from another Shaiful Esah free-kick landed in the back of the net, giving the home team a 4-2 lead, which it held onto until the final whistle.

Burmese fans must know hope for a miracle on Saturday when the White Angels come up against old rivals Thailand.



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