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Burma was narrowly defeated 2-1 by the United States in its first match of the Under-20s men’s football World Cup in New Zealand on Saturday.
Despite going into an early lead, Burma struggled to keep up with the Americans’ organisational strength. Though the Burmese launched a late comeback, an equalizing goal proved evasive. With hosts New Zealand and Ukraine drawing 0-0 earlier, Burma goes into its next two games knowing it must find at least one victory.
Playing in the chilly coastal town of Whangarei on New Zealand’s North Island, the Burmese began the match ferociously, attacking the US with everything they had in the opening minutes.
After some intense pressure, Burma won a corner on the left side. It was swung near-post for a delicate flick-on and in the resultant melee of pinball the ball broke to Yan Naing Oo who slid it into the net; 1-0 to Burma after just eight minutes.
But eight minutes later, Maki Tall equalised, again from a corner. The US grew in confidence, passing the ball comfortably and launching high crosses towards Burma’s diminutive defence.
Early in the second half, Hyndman scored for the US who never looked threatened until the final 10 minutes when Burma launched an all-out attack.
The USA now has three points; Ukraine and New Zealand one point; and Burma zero.
But the Burmese youngsters can take solace from a fiery display. Their opponents on 2 June, Ukraine, will know not to take them lightly.