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Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia sealed their place in the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games semi-finals on a resounding note after beating Myanmar 3-1 while Laos scored their first win with a 3-0 triumph over Brunei in Group A action on Monday.

Malaysia hadn't sizzled in their opening two matches, despite registering 2-1 wins over Brunei and Singapore, while Myanmar came into the tie on a high after having easily won their three matches. 

Malaysia had the backing of some 50,000 fans at the Shah Alam Stadium but Myanmar showed their intent as well as coach Gerd Zeise fielded his strongest lineup despite his side having already sealed a place in the semi-finals.

The opening minutes were even as the teams sized each other up but Malaysia slowly began to control the game as the minutes ticked away.

However, it was Myanmar who had the first glimpse at goal in the 18th minute when Si Thu Aung found an unguarded Aung Thu - who already has four goals to his name in the tournament - but the striker's touch abandoned him on this occassion as he headed wide.

Malaysia's response was almost immediate but a last-ditch block by Nanda Kyaw denied S. Kumaahran from hitting the back of the net.

The home team came even closer in the 28th minute through Irfan Zakaria as his free-kick from 30 yards out looked destined to find the back of the net but Myanmar goalkeeper Sann Sat Naing was equal to the effort as he palmed the ball out for a fruitless corner.

Malaysia kept pressing and Myanmar's resistance finally broke in the 33rd minute as a cross from Safawi Rasid found Matt Davies, whose shot lacked power but found N. Thanabalan who had the simplest task of guiding it home for his second goal of the SEA Games.

It got even better two minutes later as another cross, this time from the right by Kumaahran was nodded home by the surging Safawi.

Myanmar had to respond early in the second half but it was Malaysia who could have gone even further ahead just a minute into the restart as Nor Azam Azih's free-kick from the left found Matt Davies, whose header was blocked by defender Kyaw before goalkeeper Sann collected it. 

Myanmar had another close call in the 60th minute when Sann could only parry Kumaahran's shot which rebounded to Davies, whose effort was again only blocked by the goalkeeper before a defender booted the ball away.

Malaysia, however, were not to be denied their third and when it came, it was easily one of the best goals of the tournament as a Myanmar attack turned into a counter-attack which saw Jafri Firdaus run 30 yards to send a cross into the penalty area.

Thanabalan (pictured above) must have run even further as he timed his run to perfection to nod home in the 82nd minute.

There was to be a consolation for Myanmar, courtesy of a defensive mix-up which Than Paing gratefully capitalised on in the 86th minute, but it was Malaysia who had sent an ominous warning as the tournament prepares for the knock-out stage.


Laos picked up their first win in the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games after a 3-0 win over Brunei Darussalam at the UM Arena Stadium on Monday.

With no chance of reaching  the semi-finals, both sides were playing for pride and to avoid last place in Group A.

All eyes were on Zulkhairy Hady Razali - who scored against hosts Malaysia in their opener - to put Brunei in the lead, but Laos did well with a strong defence.

After a goalless first-half, Laos returned looking to make a difference and succeeded when Phithack opened the scoring in the 64th minute.

It was just the beginning for Laos, with Phitack doubling their advantage eight minutes later, before ending proceedings with a hat trick four minutes before time.


Group A

Results

August 14: Myanmar 2-0 Singapore, Malaysia 2-1 Brunei

August 16: Singapore 1-2 Malaysia, Myanmar 3-1 Laos

August 18: Laos 0-2 Singapore, Brunei 0-6 Myanmar

August 21: Brunei 0-3 Laos, Malaysia 3-1 Myanmar

Standings

Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pts

Myanmar

4

3

0

1

12

4

9

Malaysia

3

3

0

0

7

3

9

Singapore

3

1

0

2

3

4

3

Laos

3

1

0

2

4

5

3

Brunei

2

0

0

2

1

8

0

 

Fixtures

August 23: Laos v Malaysia, Singapore v Brunei

 


Group B

Results

August 15: Indonesia 1-1 Thailand, Vietnam 4-0 Timor-Leste, Cambodia 0-2 Philippines

August 17: Vietnam 4-1 Cambodia, Indonesia 3-0 Philippines, Thailand 1-0 Timor-Leste

August 20: Timor-Leste 0-1 Indonesia, Philippines 0-4 Vietnam, Thailand 3-0 Cambodia

Standings

Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pts

Vietnam

3

3

0

0

12

1

9

Indonesia

3

2

1

0

5

1

7

Thailand

3

2

1

0

5

1

7

Philippines

3

1

0

2

2

7

3

Timor-Leste

3

0

0

3

0

6

0

Cambodia

3

0

0

3

1

9

0

Fixtures

August 22: Cambodia v Timor-Leste, Philippines v Thailand, Vietnam v Indonesia

August 24: Indonesia v Cambodia, Thailand v Vietnam, Timor-Leste v Philippines


August 26: Semi-finals

August 29: Final

Photos: MASOC/AFP