Myanmar 1 Brunei 0
Yangon: Yan Aung Win scored with only six minutes left as hosts Myanmar edged plucky underdogs Brunei Darussalam 1-0 in their opening match of the AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying Round on Friday.
While Myanmar enjoyed the majority of possession at the Youth Training Centre, a well-organised Brunei side had the better of the chances as goalkeeper Thiha Si Thu was called into action to keep out efforts by Rosmin Khamis and Adi Said.
But with Brunei tiring in the closing minutes, Aung Win capitalised by gathering in a loose ball and drilling a low shot into the net.
With the narrow win, Myanmar moved up to second in the qualifying group on goal difference behind Timor Leste, who crushed Cambodia 5-1 at the same venue earlier on Friday.
Myanmar dominated possession in the opening minutes but they could find no way through the well-organised Brunei defence, which restricted them to long-range efforts and half-chances for much of the first half.
The first real opening actually fell to the visitors in the 15th minute when Shahrazen Said found himself in space on the edge of the box but sent his volley just over the crossbar.
The Myanmar defence showed signs of nerves as Brunei began to get a foothold in the game and they were fortunate not to concede when Thein Than Win, in attempting to clear a cross by Adi Said, sliced the ball narrowly wide of the left upright.
There would be another huge scare for the hosts in the 29th minute as a header by Shahrazen off a corner bounced past goalkeeper Si Thu but went past just round his right post.
Myanmar’s best chance of the half arrived in the 31st minute after an error by Afi Aminuddin presented the ball to Kyi Lin, who took his time to set up just inside the box before sending his low shot just wide.
While the home side enjoyed the majority of possession, Brunei still created the better chances and Si Thu was called into action just before half-time to tip a free-kick by Rosmin over his crossbar.
Wardun Yusof was rarely tested in the first half but t he Brunei goalkeeper had to be alert early in the second half when he tipped away a long-range free-kick by Yaza Win Thein that nearly found its way under his crossbar.
At the other end, Si Thu made his best save of the match in the 55th minute when he pushed out a long-range drive by Adi that looked to be angling into the left corner of his net.
Midway through the half, Azwan Ali Rahman created a great opening for himself after weaving his way into the Myanmar box but fired wastefully over with the goal at his mercy.
A great run by Thein Than Win shortly after that presented an opening for Kyi Lin but the forward’s weak low effort did little to trouble Wardun.
Brunei began to tire in the closing minutes and Myanmar finally made the breakthrough in the 84th minute when the ball fell just inside the box to Aung Win who fired into the net, much to the relief of the home team and their supporters.