Philippines 2 Myanmar 0
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The Philippines stormed into the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup with a deserved 2-0 victory over a battling Myanmar side at Bangkok’s Supachalasai Stadium on Friday.
Well-taken goals from the two outstanding players on the pitch, Philip Younghusband and Angel Guirado, ensured the Philippines reached the last four for the second successive time after their dream run in 2010.
They will play the winners of Group B with Thailand, who topped Group A on nine points after beating Vietnam 3-1 in the night’s other match, meeting the second placed team.
After a goalless first half, Younghusband scored just after the break and Guirado rounded things off seconds before the final whistle.
It was the first time the Philippines had beaten Myanmar in the AFF Suzuki Cup. Myanmar battled hard but in the end could not contain the physically stronger Philippines.
Philippines coach Michael Weiss could not hide his delight.
“I’m very, very happy,’’ he said. “I congratulate the team which has shown top discipline and great communication.’’
His added that his own role was secondary.
“The team has shown great Filipino spirit. We are really looking forward to the semi-final having come through such a tough group,” he said.
He picked out goalscorer Philip Younghusband as “man of the match” for his fine all-round performance.
“He played brilliantly,” he said.
Myanmar assistant coach Tin Myunt Aung said it was a close game.
‘’We tried our best. If we had taken our chances we could have won,” he said.
He said his players were very tired after just finishing the league season in Myanmar.
‘’Physically, the Philippines were stronger,’’ he said.
The Philippines made two changes, forced on them by the injury to holding midfielder Ray Jonsson and the absence of Jerry Lucena who has returned to his Danish club side Esberg.
Carlos de Murga replaced Jonsson and striker Denis Wolf, a substitute in the previous match, came into an attack-minded formation.
Myanmar made three changes to the side that lost 4-0 to Thailand with Thein Than Win, Aung Moe and Kaung Si Thu named in the starting line-up
The opening exchanges were quite even with neither goal being threatened. The first real chance fell to Myanmar in the eighth minute but the header by Yan Paing went well over the bar.
The first yellow card of the night came in the 12th minute and went to the Philippines’ Jason de Jong for dangerous play.
The Philippines began to pile on the pressure and in the 17th minute a fierce shot from outside the area by the impressive Philip Younghusband was just punched clear by Mynamar ‘keeper Thiha Si Thu.
Myanmar’s young star Kyi Lin was at the heart of most of his team’s moves but could not provide any clear-cut openings.
There was a potentially nasty moment in the 27th minute with an accidental clash of heads between Myanmar’s Aung Moe and Carlos de Murga of the Philippines, but both were able to continue after receiving treatment.
In the 36th minute the Philippines replaced Denis Wolf with Angel Guirado whose arrival prompted loud cheers from the Filipino fans.
As half-time approached, Myanmar began to look more confident, but were unable to convert the pressure into real chances.
The half-time whistle went on a first half that was lively but just lacked good goal-scoring chances.
The second half opened in dramatic style with Younghusband’s brilliant goal in the 47th minute in which he beat two men before placing the ball past the keeper in the left hand corner.
This prompted a wave of attacks by the Philippines as they tried to consolidate their position.
But Myanmar kept battling away with Kyi Lin keeping the Philippines defence busy all night.
As the half wore on Philip Younghusband and Angel Guirado combined nicely on several occasions and provided a major threat down the middle.
Myanmar had to settle for occasional breaks but could not find the finishing touch.
For the Philippines, Guirado ran his socks off and it was only fitting that he should score the second goal in the last minute, fighting off the challenge of two players before blasting the ball into the net to seal a famous victory.