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Singapore SEA Games gold quest halted in shock loss to Myanmar

Singapore hopes rose when Faris Ramli equalised during their 2-1 SEA Games Group A defeat against dark horses Myanmar on Thursday. Photo credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee/Action Images via Reuters

Singapore's quest for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games football gold medal suffered a major setback with a 2-1 loss to Myanmar in a Group A match at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.

The hosts struggled to cope with Myanmar's aggression and allowed Tun Nay Lin to score the first goal in the 24th minute before a Faris Ramli penalty levelled the game 13 minutes before the break.

Midfielder Ye Ko Oo pulled off a sensational goal in the 60th minute to cap a fantastic victory for Myanmar.

In typical fashion, the White Angels swarmed forward with pace in the opening minutes and restricted the home team to try their luck from a distance.

Striker Sahil Suhaimi had a couple of shots at goal in the opening 10 minutes but it was obvious that the hero of the Malaysia FA Cup final is yet to find his range in this competition.

Aide Iskandar's side were clearly rattled by Myanmar's high pressing game and the defence collapsed in the 24th minute when captain Tun opened the scoring.

A free kick from the right by Aung Zone Moe sailed over the entire defence to allow Tun to bundle the ball into the net.

Sahil almost levelled the game four minutes later when he struck a sweet volley off a Safirul Sulaiman free kick only to see the Myanmar defenders deflect it out for a corner.

The game turned on its head in the 32nd minute when Faris converted a penalty for Singapore after Myanmar's defence was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

Singapore were unlucky not to take the lead in the 36th minute when Adam Swandi left Aung Si Thu for dead. But his cross narrowly missed a charging Stanely Ng who was unmarked in the middle of the box.

The frenetic opening 45 minutes came to an end with Myanmar holding 60 percent of possession while Singapore dominated the shots on target count with eight.

Myanmar fans were in celebratory mood after their team's strong showing at Jalan Besar. Photo credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee/Action Images via Reuters

The Young Lions settled quickly in the second half. Within less than a minute of restart, midfielder Pravin Guanasagaran drilled a 15-yard effort narrowly wide.

Myanmar stunned the crowd into silence again in the 60th minute when Singapore goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari misjudged Ko Oo's 35-yard free kick, allowing the ball to bounce into goal.

Aide had his hands on hip some eight minutes later when Sahil found space in the box, but failed to find the target yet again.

Singapore brought on winger Suria Prakash to bolster the attack, together with Irfan Fandi, who put the ball into the net in the 77th minute. But the 17-year-old was pulled up for a challenge on goalkeeper Phyo Kyaw Zin, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

Young Lions' defender Sheikh Abdul Hadi, who scored the winner against Philippines in the opening game, had a good opportunity with five minutes remaining. But he hooked the ball over the bar.

The last chance of the game fell to Irfan but his nerves got the better of him as he headed wide to the relief of the Myanmar supporters.

Myanmar will seek their third successive win against Philippines on Sunday. Singapore will look to get their campaign back on track against Cambodia a day later.

Singapore: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Al-Qaasimy Rahman (C), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, M. Anumanthan, Shakir Hamzah, Pravin Guanasagaran, Safirul Sulaiman (Suria Prakash 68'), Stanely Ng (Irfan Fandi 57'), Faris Ramli (Amy Recha 89'), Adam Swandi, Sahil Suhaimi

Myanmar: Phyo Kyaw Zin (GK), Aung Si Thu, Zin Lwin Kyaw (Aung Ye Win 67'), Phyo Ko Ko Thein, Bo Thian Bo, Tun Nay Lin (C), Aung Zone Moe, (Thiha Zaw 58') Ye Ko Oo, Oo Win Zin (Hein Ko Ko 81'), Thura Shine, Naing Kaung Sat

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