Burma came from a goal down to the Philippines to pull off an impressive 5-1 victory at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Sunday evening, guaranteeing the under-23 side a place in the semi-finals of the SEA Games.
With several thousand Burmese fans in the crowd – Singapore is host to a large Burmese diaspora including students – the cheers of “Myanmar! Hey!” rang continuously around the ground. On the pitch, the Burmese youngsters got off to a good start but failed to capitalise on their chances.
Their wastefulness was punished in the 16th minute when Philippines captain Shirmar Felongco won possession around the halfway line and raced forward to score the opener.
But Burma fought back immediately and scored just five minutes later when captain Nay Lin Tun’s free kick deflected off the wall to leave goalkeeper Nathanael Ace Villanueva wrong-footed.
Burma continued to press, motivated by the thunderous roar from their fans. Although the Philippines held on till half time with the score all square, it seemed only a matter of time. One minute into the second half, finally went ahead when Nay Lin Tun threaded a pass for Shine Thura to stab home.
This opened the floodgates, with Ye Win Aung, Si Thu Aung and Kyaw Zin Lwin piling on the misery for the inexperienced Filipinos.
The Burmese lads won convincingly 5-1 and must now be one of the favourites. Unbeaten, they are now through to the semis where they will meet either Vietnam or reigning champions Thailand.