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Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia and Myanmar took a huge step towards the semi-finals with wins over Singapore and Laos respectively in Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games men's football Group A matches on Wednesday. 

Malaysia came from behind to beat Singapore 2-1 while Myanmar overcame Laos 3-1, setting the stage for a cracking tie between the two on August 21 for Group A supremacy.

Malaysia started the tie at the Shah Alam Stadium knowing a win would take them closer to the semi-finals while Singapore needed full points to ensure their last four dreams stayed alive.

The hosts had opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over plucky Brunei Darussalam on Monday while Singapore, despite a decent effort, had lost 0-2 to Myanmar.

Malaysia enjoyed early dominance but Singapore, as they had done against Myanmar, began to assert themselves as the half progressed and began to pose questions to the home team's defence.

As their confidence grew, the team from the Lion City began to play with more freedom and Amiruldin Nodin gave them the lead in the 37th minute with a scorching effort from more than 20 yards out which left Malaysia goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli screaming at his defenders for failing to check the Singaporean's run.

It could have gotten worse for Malaysia as four minutes later, Hami Syahin's curling free-kick from the left was denied by the upright.

Safawi Rasid, however, gave Malaysia reason to be optimistic as his free-kick from just outside the penalty area in stoppage time rocked the Singapore crossbar, indicating that there was still much more to come.

The local fans made sure they were heard when the two teams came out for the second half and the belief in the stands seemed to give Malaysia extra zest as they went in search of the equaliser.

Singapore found themselves conceding more and more ground and Malaysia, after several half chances, drew level in the 68th minute thanks to Safawi's persistence as he beat two defenders before releasing the ball to substitute Nor Azam Azih, who finished brilliantly from the left.

The momentum was in Malaysia's favour and five minutes later, they took the lead. Matthew Davies' cross found Safawi but his miscued shot hit a Singapore defender before falling kindly to N. Thanabalan - also on as a substitute - who made no mistake from close range.

For Malaysia, the semi-finals beckon but Singapore, sadly, are staring at elimination.

Shwe Ko and Hlaing Bo Bo’s added time goals helped secure Myanmar’s second successive win in Group A after a 3-1 victory over Laos at the UiTM Stadium on Wednesday.

On the back of a 2-0 win over Singapore on Matchday One, Myanmar were hungry for more and used a high-pressured approach from the start.

Mg Mg Lwin’s attempt in the 15th minute from outside the penalty area could have given Myanmar an early advantage, but an alert Saymanolinh Paseuth punched the ball away.

Despite Laos’ best efforts, Aung Thu - a two-goal hero against Singapore - opened the scoring in the 36th minute.

Laos, however, returned from the break with vigour as Phithack Kongmathilath’s shot from 18 yards out gave Gerd Zeise’s side a scare and a warning of what was to come.

Phatana Phommathep leveled the scores for Laos in the 60th minute, courtesy of Soukchinda Natphasouk’s push pass into the box.

In a last-ditch effort to secure all three points, Myanmar’s aggressive play paid off when Shwe Ko hit home from close range, doubling their advantage in added time.

Myanmar didn't let up, with Hlaing Bo Bo taking advantage of Paseuth's rebound to roll his shot into the net, to secure top spot in Group A.

Group A


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

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



P W D L F A Pts
Myanmar  2 2 0 0 5 1 6
Malaysia  2 2 0 0 4 2 6
Brunei  1 0 0 1 2 1 0
Laos 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
Singapore 2 0 0 2 1 4 0


August 18: Laos v Singapore, Brunei v Myanmar

August 21: Brunei v Laos, Malaysia v Myanmar

August 23: Laos v Malaysia, Singapore v Brunei

Group B


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



P W D L F A Pts
Vietnam 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
Philippines  1 1 0 0 2 0 3
Indonesia  1 0 1 0 1 1 1
Thailand  1 0 1 0 1 1 1
Cambodia  1 0 0 1 0 2 0
Timor-Leste 1 0 0 1 0 4 0


August 17: Vietnam v Cambodia, Indonesia v Philippines, Thailand v Timor-Leste

August 20: Philippines v Vietnam, Timor-Leste v Indonesia, Thailand v Cambodia

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