by Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - Myanmar Under-19 dealt the Philippine U-21 Azkals a 3-1 beating Sunday night to sweep Group A of the fifth Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) in Brunei.
Nyein Chan Aung (11’), Ko Tun (55’), and Swan Htet Aung (88’) struck for the Burmese, who finished group play with a perfect 12 points to tow Thailand (nine points) into the semis.
The U-21 Azkals, who created a number of scoring chances but only connected once via Kenshiro Daniels (63’), wound up with four points on a win, a draw and two losses.
“I think it was a great game as it was the best we played in the tournament so far,” Phl coach Jim Fraser said in a report in the Brunei Times.
Myanmar seized a 2-0 lead but Phl pressed on and eventually pulled one back with Daniels slamming his freekick from the right edge of the box into the back of the net.
Substitute Kennedy Venida Uzoka nearly evened the count but botched his shot from six yards out. Daniels got a couple more chances but he misfired from close range and his later freekick into the crowded box was quashed by Myanmar keeper Myo Min Latt’s acrobatic save. Sub Paolo Salenga later launched a shot that sailed just inches off the left corner.
We had chances to put it away in the second half but it has been our problem throughout the tournament – poor finishing,” said Fraser.
“Overall, I’m satisfied. It was a good game of football and they were good opponents who can do well in the semis,” added the Australian mentor, who’s tasked to prepare the U-21 Azkals for a future foray into the Southeast Asian Games."