PHNOM PENH: The national Under-22 (U-22) squad’s campaign in the AFF U-22 Cahmpionship ended last night at the group stage despite beating Myanmar 1-0 at the RSN Stadium here in Phnom Penh.
The failure to march to the semi-finals of the championship is because fierce rivals Indonesia beat hosts Cambodia 2-0 at the Olympic Stadium in the other Group B match which enables both Cambodia and Indonesia to progress to the semi-finals at Malaysia’s expense.
In the last Group B match, Ong Kim Swee made one change to the first-eleven by bringing in Danial Haqim Draman and Izzan Syahmi Mustapa who was suspended for the second match for being red-carded in the first match against hosts Cambodia which they lost 1-0.
Myanmar, coached by former Kelantan trainer Velizar Popov started the match strongly by putting pressure on the national side and they came close in the 11th minute through Hein Htet Aung’s effort.
Malaysia were not to be outdone and with the mission of trying to make the semi-finals, Kim Swee’s charges pressed on and were almost rewarded in the 26th minute but Jafri Firdaus Chew’s effort went past the goalmouth.
Malaysia were jolted by the injury sustained by team captain Dominic Tan who had to be taken off and replaced by Amirul Ashraf Ariffin in the 30th minute, though it did not deter the national side’s determination to beat ‘The White Angels’.
Malaysia’s winning goal was scored by lanky Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak in the 45th minute who headed the ball into Myanmar’s goal with custodian Phone Thitsar Min well beaten, off a cross by Ahmad Tasnim Fitri.
Malaysia tried to score again in the second half but their forays and efforts into the opposition’s half were thwarted by the stubborn Myanmar defence with the match ending with a slim 1-0 win for the national side who finished third in Group B.