Anger, Disappointment as Burma’s Men Go Down and Out at SEA Games Football

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Burma, Myanmar, Indonesia, SEA Games, football , soccer

A Burmese football fan is in tears after the match in which Burma’s men were defeated by Indonesia and knocked out of the SEA Games football competition. (Photo: Sai Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Burma’s U-23 footballers went down 1-0 to Indonesia at the SEA Games men’s football competition in Rangoon on Monday night, a result that sees the hosts out of the tournament.

Indonesia progressed to the semi-finals on the head-to-head rule, despite having an inferior goal difference to Burma’s men’s team, after both countries finished joint-second in their group, one point behind Thailand on seven points.

Speaking after the match, Burma coach Park Sung Hwa said that he thought a 1-0 loss would be enough for the home country to progress, seemingly misunderstanding that the head-to-head stipulation, which dictates that in the event of teams finishing level on points, the result of the match between the sides decides who progresses, rather than goal difference. Burma went into the game with +5 goal difference, compared with Indonesia’s -2.

“I didn’t know it in advance and therefore made some mistakes with formation and tactics,” the coach said in a post match press conference, his remarks delivered in Korean and translated to Burmese and in turn to English.

The mix-up and Burma’s exit from the competition seems likely to mark the end of Park’s tenure, after a match in which a first half penalty—coolly-taken by Indonesia’s Alfin Ismail Tuasalamony after a John Aldridge-style staccato run-up—turned out to be enough for Indonesia to progress.

For much of the game the away team looked the more likely to score, though both sides had chances before the referee blew for time after 95 minutes of play.

Burma was mostly restricted to long range efforts in the second half as the favored hosts tried to claw back Indonesia’s lead. However, for the most part the Burmese snatched at their shots, skying several efforts high and wide.

Clearly missing injured midfielder Kyi Lin, who limped out of the Saturday 1-1 draw with Thailand, and star striker Kyaw Ko Ko, who was left on the substitutes bench, the Burmese towards the end were reduced to pinging hopeful long balls into the Indonesian box, which the away team’s defense dealt with comfortably.

One spectacular 79th minute volley by Burma’s number 9 Kaung Si Thu was the high point of the host’s second half—a dipping rasper fired from the edge of the D, which dropped inches wide of the Indonesian goal with the ‘keeper a spectator.

Indonesia however had chances to wrap the game up before the end, with Bayu Gatra Sanggiawan dragging wide in the 78th minute, despite having a clear sight of the Burmese goal inside the penalty area after a well-worked move down the left.
Otherwise, while the Indonesians regularly got in behind the Burmese defense when they attacked down the left, the final pass by the visitors was left wanting.

The match was marred by the sending-off of Burma’s Ye Lin Aung with normal time set to expire, as the home team’s frustrations grew.

By the end, the tension spilled from pitch to stand, with the ref having to remove a rock lobbed onto the pitch—seemingly by an irate Burmese supporter—as the game drew to a close and it became apparent that the hosts were not going to find an equalizer.

After the game angry Burmese fans ripped up stadium seats and hurled them pitchside—or as close as they could get, given the fence, moat and running track separating the playing surface from the stands.

Violence spilled outside the stadium, with riot police called in to control the angry spectators who took their anger at the Burma team’s elimination to the streets outside Rangoon’s Thuwanna Stadium, a reprise of some of the recent bouts of football hooliganism that Burma has become known for.

Anger also spread to cyberspace, with a hacker group briefly taking down the SEA Games website, which was back up a few minutes later.

A message posted on the hacked page read “Hello, Seagame 2013. Hacked By Blink Hacker Group We don’t want to deface your site. But, today’s football match’s results brought us here. Please take legal action (at least a complain) against the vietnam referee for his deeds.”

Blink Hacker Group’s previous targets include state television station MRTV-4, various Burmese government ministries and local newspaper websites.

By Thursday morning Burma had slipped to third in the overall SEA Games medals table. With Thailand seemingly unassailable at the top with 59 gold medals, the hosts are left in a three way battle with Vietnam and Indonesia for second, third and fourth places in the medals ranking.


6 Responses to Anger, Disappointment as Burma’s Men Go Down and Out at SEA Games Football

  1. One should rejoice when one wins. But also gracefully accept the defeat, in a sportsman spirit manner. One cannot win all the time. This is life. Better luck, next time.

  2. The rules is really funny and how could fifa make this kind of rules, Myanmar is a better team overall and Indonesia sorry to say really does not deserve to be in the final, the way they play are flat, please coach darmawan deep inside you know, your team really are not up to the level at all.

  3. As Indonesian, I feel so sorry for Myanmar. Your team is far better then ours. So sad to see your team had to knock down because of this ridiculous rules. But, what an ironic in this case, you are the host. So you are the one who choose to pick this AFC rules that based on head to head rather than FIFA rules that based on goal difference.

    We are lucky this time…

  4. Better luck next time. We have the right players, need a little tweaking. Our possession play has become a lot better, but still need clinical finishers, bigger goalies and not give away cheap unnecessary fouls outside the box.
    Our outgoing Korean Coach emphasized fitness, but was more conservative. I did not like the way he disciplined Kyaw Ko Ko (though he should keep his mouth shut at times for the better).
    Maybe it is time to get a big name coach who plays more direct – perhaps, a German or Argentinian. This way we can utilize our pace more effectively.
    With Asian U-22 Finals and AFC tournament ahead of us let’s prepare well.
    Go Myanmar!

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