Sunday, December 5, 2010

Singapore 2 Myanmar 1 - Duric, Casmir rescue Singapore

HANOI:  Agu Casmir scored deep into stoppage time as three-time champions Singapore battled back after going behind to hand Myanmar a 2-1 defeat the My Dinh Stadium in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Sunday evening.

Khin Maung Lwin had given Myanmar the lead in the 13th minute of a drab first half in which neither team shone but a half-time reshuffle by Lions coach Raddy Avramovic swung the balance back in favour of his side in the second 45 minutes.

Aleksandar Duric levelled the score when he tapped in from close range just after the hour. And Agu Casmir scored three minutes into stoppage time to secure the win which put the Lions within touching distance of the semi-finals and sent Myanmar crashing out.

It was little more than the three-time winners deserved after a double change at half-time saw Casmir replace the ineffective Noh Alam Shah while Muhammad Ridhuan made way for Khairul Amri.

Amri's pace down the left flank, in particular, gave Singapore a significant boost, lifting the tempo of a team that had looked flat and devoid of inspiration in the opening 45 minutes.

It was during the first half that Myanmar put their heavy opening game defeat at the hands of Vietnam behind them as Khin Maung opened the scoring.

With just 13 minutes on the clock, the midfielder finished off a fine move that saw the Singapore defence sliced open before Khin Maung scored with a well taken right footed effort.

Singapore rarely threatened, at least until six minutes before the break when defender Baihakki Khaizan somehow managed to put the ball over the bar after Jumaat Jantan's corner found him with time and space to pick his spot.

Avramovic saw enough in the first half to ring the required changes at the interval and the Singapore team that came out for the second half was a different proposition to the tame beast that finished the first.

Casmir should have equalised in the 50th minute when Jumaat's cutback found him in a position to capitalise, only for the striker to push his effort wide of goal.

Less than a minute later, Duric raced through the Myanmar defence before smashing a right foot shot beyond goalkeeper Thiha Si Thu and high into the corner. However, he had already been flagged for offside.

But Singapore were level 10 minutes later when Casmir received the ball from Mohammad Shahril before beating Yan Aung Win and slotting the ball beyond the goalkeeper. From there, Duric was left to roll his effort home.

Despite being in the ascendancy, Singapore still struggled to break down Myanmar's resistance. It nearly got worse in the 69th minute when Yan Paing had the Islanders' hearts in their mouths as his right foot shot from 10 metres out crashed against the crossbar.

But with seconds remaining, Casmir drove the ball home after a lay-off from Duric to end any resistance from Myanmar and improve his side's chances of progressing to the semi-finals.


Raddy relieved as Singapore take points 

Hanoi: Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic breathed a huge sigh of relief as the three-time champions edged closer to the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup with a late 2-1 win over Myanmar on Sunday evening.

Agu Casmir scored with just seconds remaining to put the Lions' challenge for a place in the last four back on track after a surprise opening day draw with the Philippines.

Singapore missed out on all three points in their opening game when Philippine midfielder Chris Greatwich scored deep into injury time.

But this time around it was the Singaporeans who scored the vital goal late in proceedings as Casmir struck to shatter Myanmar's hopes of progressing to the semifinals.

"This tournament is great for spectators but it's not good for coaches, it's very difficult for coaches," said Avramovic.

"We have made back these two points that we lost against the Philippines because we scored at a similar time as they did.

"I think we deserved to win the game but all credit to Myanmar, they played good football."

A pair of substitutions at the start of the second half by Avramovic – when he introduced Agu Casmir for Noh Alam Shah while Khairul Amri replaced Muhammad Ridhuan – were instrumental in the game swinging in favour of the Singaporeans after Myanmar dominated the opening half.

Khin Maung Lwin gave Myanmar the lead after 13 minutes but Aleksandar Duric leveled the scores with a close-range effort 16 minutes into the second period, leaving Casmir to claim the winner three minutes into injury time.

"We had been making some mistakes, we were hurrying up too much," said Avramovic of his team's first half performance.

"We were finding it hard to keep the ball in their half and if you don't do that you can't build up and that why I brought on Agu. I brought on Amri because he can break down the side.

"The other difference was that Myanmar were tired in the second half so there was more time and space for us to operate.

"We have different type of players, they are heavier than their players and Myanmar played very well in the first half, moving the ball around with one touch, two touches and it was difficult for us."

The defeat means Myanmar's hopes of qualifying for the last four are now gone and coach Tin Myint Aung was disconsolate in defeat.

"In today's game the Singapore team was very good," he said. "I appreciate how strong they were mentally and physically.

"They were losing 1-0 and they still fought against our team and that's why we lost.

"After 60 or 70 minutes our performance went down and they put too much pressure on our team. Whoever can create the finishing touch, they can win. That was the answer today."

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup

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