Myanmar, North Korea move into AFC Challenge Cup semis (Lead)

August 2nd, 2008 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS  

By Abhishek Roy
Hyderabad, Aug 2 (IANS) Myanmar and North Korea are through to the semi-finals of the AFC Challenge Cup football tournament after winning their second Group B matches at the Gachibowli Stadium here Saturday. Mayanmar beat Sri Lanka 3-1 while a determined Nepal gave a tough fight before going down to he much superior North Koreans 0-1.

North Korea and Myanmar both have six points each after two wins but the latter is now at the top of Group B by virtue of a better goal difference. They will clash in their last league match Monday to decide to group topper.

Second-half goals from Myat Min Soe, Paing Yang and substitute Thu Win Si ensured Myanmar maximum points. Kasun Nadika Jayasuriya replied for the 2006 runners-up Sri Lanka.

The match between Nepal and North Korean was played under heavy rain. Song Choi Pak scored the winning goal for the Koreans in the 39the minute. Despite being a goal down, Nepal came back strongly in the second half and played brilliantly but failed to get the equaliser.

Earlier in the day, both Sri Lanka and Myanmar waged an intense battle in the goalless first half.

After the break, Myanmar took only two minutes to achieve a breakthrough when Soe pierced the Sri Lankan defence on the run to squeeze the ball into the goal.

The goal stung Sri Lanka and within three minutes they were level after midfielder Chamira Mudiyanselage set-up Jayasuriya, who lobbed past the Myanmar goalkeeper Aung Oo Aung.

Myanmar continued to set the pace and chances came their way. Yang could not find a way to beat Sri Lankan goalkeeper Viraj Asanka on more than one occasion.

It was not all one-way traffic, however, as the Sri Lankan forwards made forays into the Myanmar goalmouth with better football with their neat passing. But, they could not get a clear shot at the goal.

Myanmar continued to pose a danger, especially from their set-pieces, and they regained the lead in the 69th minute when midfielder Yin Thein Yaza picked out Yang with a precise pass on the edge of the area. Yang crisply shot past Viraj.

The Sri Lankans, in search of an equaliser, failed to cover their flanks and allowed Myanmar to score a third goal. Quick thinking playmaker Yaza sent an accurate cross to lurking Si who darted in to strike home.

Sri Lanka will take on Nepal in an inconsequential Group B match Monday.

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