NAM DINH: The Philippines secured a place in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup after completing an unbeaten Group B campaign with a goalless draw against Myanmar at the Thien Truong Stadium on Wednesday.
The Filipinos had the better of the chances in the match and struck the woodwork on three occasions against Myanmar side who had little to play for.
But it mattered little at the end as they finished second in the group behind Vietnam to earn a last four clash against Indonesia.
Having lost their first two games, Myanmar had already been eliminated. But they began the match well and dominated the early exchanges.
After 10 minutes, midfielder Pai Soe jinked his way past a couple of Filipino challenges to create an opening on the edge of the box but fired straight at goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
Eight minutes later, the Filipino defence was caught square by a cross from the right. But the angle was just too narrow for Pai Soe, who put his effort wide.
The Filipinos failed to threaten until the midway point of the half but skipper Alexander Borromeo almost broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when he was picked out by James Younghusband's corner kick but headed wide.
On 35 minutes, the Philippines launched a quick counterattack with Ray Jonsson's cross failing to Ian Araneta, who had his shot blocked. The ball fell to Phil Younghusband, who ballooned his shot.
Four minutes before the break, a flick-on from a Filipino throw-in fell to Chris Greatwich in the box but the striker put his scissor kick over the crossbar.
Phil Younghusband then rose above the Myanmar defence to meet Jonsson's cross but his header came back off the woodwork.
The first opportunity of the second half fell to Myanmar defender Khin Maung Lwin, whose 50th minute effort from the edge of the box went just wide.
The deadlock was nearly broken by the Philippines 11 minute after the interval. A low cross by Greatwich fell to Araneta whose deflected attempt struck the base of the post.
Philippines continued to offer much of the threat on the counterattack and went close again in the 65th minute when a shot by Phil Younghusband deflected invitingly to Araneta, whose low attempt slipped narrowly wide.
With eight minutes left, Greatwich made a jinking run on the right and crossed for an unmarked Nigel De Jong, who headed wide.
Goalkeeper Thiha Si Thu then made a fine stop, tipping away a shot by Phil Younghusband and from the resulting corner, a header by Phil Younghusband rocked the Myanmar crossbar.
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