In a game that Thailand were expected to win they did just that. But, it was a much harder match than they had expected and Myanmar can now head into the bronze medal game against `Vietnam with confidence.
First-half Thailand 1 Myanmar 0
The stadium had barely settled from the previous semi final but the open exchanges in this one indicated it would be a much more predictable and less chaotic. Thailand have barely needed to move into third gear this tournament and you can see why. In second gear they pop the ball round with speed and quality whilst the other team is left chasing shadows. Myanmar, to their credit, have been far more organized than most and have made a habit of allowing teams the ball and only exploding when they need to. They were not going to chase shadows.
Eleven minutes into the game came the first clear cut chance when Leon James blazed over with a volley. The ball was cut back from the byline and just behind his body when he connected, sending the ball high into the night sky. The Thais are relentless with their passing, in out side to side in out again. Just probing to find weaknesses. In the 31st minutes they found one. Poeiphimai was on the end of a delightful cross to head home for yet another headed goal from this majestic player.
Myanmar offered very little in their counter attacking gameplan and to have any chance of coming into this game they would need to change.
Second Half: Thailand 3-0 Myanmar
Thailand came out and controlled the ball as they do and Myanmar sat back waiting for the moment to pounce. Unfortunately for them that moment wouldn’t come and instead the Thais began to work the ball quicker and quicker and create more chances. James wasted two of them, the first a header that was tipped round the post and the second a clearance off the line.
Myanmar had still offered very little going forward but with 10 minutes to go they needed to take some risks and so they did. They would pay the price.
In the 85th minute James finally got his goal and in the 90th minute Anan picked up the ball 35 yards out and struck into the top corner to seal a comfortable win.
Myanmar have already exceeded expectations and Vietnam lay in wait for bronze. For Thailand they will meet Indonesia in what promises to be an incredible game. Only a fool would bet against Thailand but Indonesia are my team of the tournament, one thing I know for sure is Thailand will need to get out of second gear.
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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