Great tournament for AFF runners up

Myanmar FA
Courtesy: Myanmar Times

Myanmar felled by futsal giants

by Kyaw Zin Hlaing

Monday, 30 January 2017

Myanmar's dreams of futsal glory will have to wait, after the national team was handily dismantled by Thailand, 8-1, at the 2016 ASEAN Football Federation AIS Futsal Championship at Bangkok’s Indoor Stadium Huamark.

It was familiar territory for Thailand, Southeast Asia’s most successful futsal side and this year’s hosts, who have taken 12 trophies in the tournament’s 13-year history.

That dominant calibre showed yesterday, as Thailand’s a cohesive unit that dismantled Myanmar’s own national side, making their first AFF final after defeating Timor-Leste 8-3 in the semi-final on January 27.

Thailand’s rapid counter-attack kept Myanmar’s newcomers busy, scoring four goals in the first half while their full-court defensive teamwork kept the visitors to just one. The hosts added another four in the second-half while shutting out Myanmar to cap off the dominant display.

While they were picked-apart by the Thai titans in the final, Myanmar showed a much-improved form at this year’s tournament, which opened on January 23.

Myanmar’s previous best showing at the AFF Futsal Championship was a third-place finish, in 2006, while they failed to progress through the groups stage in the 2007-15 competitions.

This year, however, Myanmar took off on a dominant tear, scoring 17 goals while conceding only 7 en route to group-stage victories over Laos, Indonesia and Malaysia. They defeated Timor-Leste, 8-3, to set up the final against the hosts.

Pyae Phyo Maung was the tournament’s leading scorer with eight goals, including four in a 6-3 showing over Indonesia, the 2010 winners.

“We are of course very happy to be in the final. It was a very difficult game. But we kept our nerves,” captain Aung Aung said after the semi-final.

But danger was lurking in group A, where Thailand overwhelmed Timor-Leste, 11-1 ,and Brunei, 17-2, before defeating the group B runners-up, Malaysia, 5-3 in the other semi-final.

The tournament, the federation’s 2016 edition, was scheduled for October 31-November 6, but was postponed by the Football Association of Thailand following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13.

Posted by Luca Ranocchiari --> luca.ranocchiari@futsalplanet.com


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