Myanmar Vs UAE - AFC 2014

Myanmar Vs UAE - AFC 2014

Yangon: A Than Paing goal was enough to take hosts Myanmar into the semi-final of the AFC U-19 Championship for the first time since 1971, after the home nation defeated the United Arab Emirates 1-0 in Friday's quarter-final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

Having only scored in only one previous game in the tournament, their 3-0 victory over fellow quarter-finalists Thailand in the group stage, Myanmar made the crucial breakthrough on 53 minutes through striker Than Paing (pictured) which proved to be enough for their historic victory. The win for the Group A runners-up not only returns the seven-time-champions to the semi-finals but also qualifies them for a place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, to be played next year in New Zealand, for the first time in the nation's history.

Although the UAE was on the offensive from the start, Myanmar's defence coped well under the onslaught from the Group B winners who kept the White Angels under sustained pressure.

In the 27th minute the first shot from open play was delivered by Khalfan Mubarak, who ran on to a long ball from deep within the UAE half but chased all the way by left back Nanda Kyaw, he let the ball run ahead of him and was unable to get enough on the ball to generate power in his shot, comfortably collected by goalkeeper Myo Min Latt.

An UAE corner routine nearly bore its intended fruit in the 32nd minute, as Ahmed Rashid was on target from a header only for Nanda Kyaw, defending the far post, to clear the ball off the goal line. And Nanda Kyaw also had the hosts' best opportunity of the half, when he snuck in at the near post to put a toe on Myanmar's only corner in the first period but was unable to force it home.

But just seven minutes after the half-time interval, Myanmar's first shot from open play brought the game's opening goal after Rashid had been adjudged to have brought down the tall Than Paing nearly 40 yards from goal.

The resulting free-kick initially appeared dealt with until the ball was played swiftly down Myanmar's left, around the back and crossed in for Than Paing to stick out a long leg and poke the ball home from close range. The next few minutes saw the UAE up the tempo as they attempted a quick comeback into the game, Myo Min Latt again pulling off a number of fine saves including tipping one shot from close range onto the crossbar.

Following another UAE attack in the 63rd minute, Myanmar had a worrying moment as Myo Min Latt, so vital in their resistance, took a heavy knock and received treatment for several minutes.

From that stage, though, Myo Min Latt's game became quieter, as although UAE remained on the offensive and forced a number of corners the goalkeeper had nothing serious to test him.

A great deal of second half injuries to Myanmar players, caused by the physical nature of the battle in the second half, led to a nervous seven minutes time added on.

A free-kick on the very edge of the box saw the players of the UAE have one last opportunity of the game, but to no avail as the dead ball kick struck a head in Myanmar's protective wall and moments later the final whistle was sounded to send the packed stands of the home stadium into delirious scenes of celebration.

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