Burma’s SEA Games Footballers Thrash Philippines 5-1, Advance to Semis

By Andrew D. Kaspar 8 June 2015

RANGOON — For hapless Filipinos, the 20-yard laser by Lwin Kyaw Zin in stoppage time may have felt gratuitous, but for Burmese football fans the goal was the perfect nightcap to a Southeast Asian Games group stage match that has assured Burma a spot in the next round.

With its 5-1 win over the Philippines on Sunday night, Burma’s U-23 team looks set to enter the knock-out round of the regional football competition’s 28th iteration riding a wave of momentum.

A commanding opening match win last week in which the team trounced Indonesia 4-2, followed up by a surprise 2-1 victory over host Singapore, has Burma well positioned as it looks ahead to one more group stage match before the do-or-die phase of the competition.

The good vibes were rattled in the early moments of Sunday’s match, as the Philippines took a 1-0 lead on Shirmar Felongco’s 17th minute goal. But a lucky deflection on a free kick appeared to rejuvenate the Burmese side just four minutes later, with Nay Lin Tun leveling the score at one all.

From there on, it was all Burma.

A prompt second-half strike by Shine Thura (’46), followed by goals from Ye Win Aung (’62) and Aung Si Thu (’69), seemingly assured Burma a 1st place finish in the six-team Group A. As the team entered the three minutes of added-on time, it was Lwin Kyaw Zin who put the nail in the coffin, firing a screamer from beyond the 18-yard box past the outstretched arms of Filipino goalkeeper Nathan Villanueva to send the Burmese fans on hand at Jalan Besar Stadium into a frenzy.

Burma will play Cambodia on Wednesday in the final group stage match.

The SEA Games success has been a welcome turn of events for Burma’s national football program, which last year qualified for the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand only to go crashing out of the group stage winless on Friday.

The SEA Games officially opened on Friday, and will wrap up on June 16. The U-23 football final is scheduled for June 15.

A full table of the Asean medals tallies can be found here.