Running into match day four and amazingly Cambodia were still in contention, thanks to the life line thrown to them by Timor-Leste. Win, or draw and they would likely go through. All Honda’s team had to do was not screw up, but of course that is exactly what they did. Cambodia 0 Myanmar 2 – the result no one wanted, but indeed many of us feared.
Quite ironically it was also the first game where Honda was not dressed like he was going to a beach BBQ, but instead in a black suit more fitting for a funeral. Fate it would appear is not without a sense of irony.
First Half Cambodia 0 Myanmar 2
Cambodia started brightly, Sokha casued problems down the left and Pisoth was his usual menacing self. The roar of the crowd was deafening as it urged the home team on . However it was just 12 minutes into the game when Myanmar swept from one end to the other forcing a great save from the home team. Straight from the save though the ball was given away and a sweet strike from 25 yards courtesy of Hein Htet Aung broke the deadlock.
The Khmer’s have been notably trying to play out from the back much like Guardiola does with his Man City team. Honda though is no Guardiola and this Khmer team still lack experience. Sadly if Cambodia had hoofed instead of tried to “play”, then the deadlock would not have broken.
The next 20 minutes were to put it bluntly a disaster, Myanmar were setting little traps all over the park with Cambodia simply playing into them and again and again being exposed. And just past the half hour mark Myanmar made it 2-0. After failing to react to a short corner the Myanmar number 7 Thet Hein Soe scored a superb overhead kick into the roof of the net. Currently Thet does not even have a Wikipedia page, but one can assume this goal will have opened some eyes to his ability.
Cambodia continued fighting though and even cane close to scoring when they hit the post after a goal mouth scramble just before the interval, but sadly this was to be their last big attack of the whole match.
Second Half Cambodia 0 Myanmar 2
The second half was essentially a non event and not the kind of performance you would have expected from a team playing for their lives and a coach trying to save his “legacy”. Yet that is what happened and Cambodia were extremely poor, with the only really noticeable facet being their tactical inferiority compared to the visitors.
For the rest of the match Cambodia barely registered a notable shot on goal, with the real danger not being a Khmer comeback, but that Myanmar might score a third.
There were substitutions, but they all tended to be like for like and indicative of coach who had simply thrown the towel in.
At the start of the match the stadium was full, but by the 85th minute people began to leave in their droves. By the time the final whistle came there were not even that many fans their to witness the crying Khmer players, nor the Myanmar team celebrating reaching a semi-final that even they had seemingly deemed impossible.
What does it mean…
Cambodia have to do the impossible and get something from Indonesia on Wednesday night. They’re possibly going to rest their top players, putting into question the integrity of the competition, but as we’ve seen already in this group no one seems too bothered about integrity. At this stage even if Cambodia did pull off a “miracle” and qualify, it would feel dirty.
For Myanmar they now have 6 points and need only 1 against the Philippines to qualify – who are already out. So, amazingly a team who were supposed to be the whiping boys of the group from a country that barely functions will most likely be in the semi-finals.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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