Kuantan (12th September, 2013): Myanmar team manager Tin Myint Aung is hoping for divine intervention, once again, in Saturday’s final of the 41st Merdeka Tournament against Malaysia at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
“Our 2-0 win over Singapore was an all-round effort by my players as we needed more than two goals to qualify. But that will not be possible if Malaysia had not defeated Thailand,” added Myint Aung. “The fact that the Malaysians won 3-0, I believe in divine intervention and luck.”
Ong Kim Swee’s team will play Myanmar for the title on Saturday which is deemed as a repeat of the 2007 final which Malaysia won 3-1. Malaysia topped the standings with nine points while Myanmar and Thailand finished level on four points but Myanmar went through on goal difference.
It will be Myanmar’s ninth appearance in the Merdeka Tournament final since the inception of the tournament 40 years ago. They won in 1964, shared the trophy with South Korea in 1967, winners again in 1971 and 2006 while finishing runners-up in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 2007.
Singapore and Thailand, however, will battle in the play-off for third-placing (kick-off time 5.30pm) before the final on Saturday at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
Myint Aung, who once featured for the Malaysian Armed Forces team as a striker in the Semi-Pro League era of the 1990s, was full of praise for Kim Swee’s Harimau Muda A.
“Technically, the Malaysians are a very sound team and fitness level is good. They are strong in every department and we will try our very best to contain them. I hope my players will sacrifice for the country and give their best performance,” added Myint Aung.
The good news for Myint Aung, and Myanmar, is that the lethal partnership of midfielders Kyi Lin, and his skipper Kyaw Zayar Win, will be back to reinforce the team against the Malaysians. Kyi Lin served his one-match suspension against Singapore at the Temerloh Municipality Stadium on Wednesday while Zayar Win is recovering from injuries.
“Now that we don’t have any suspensions to worry about I am confident we will be able to parade our best line-up. With the two days of rest before the final, Zayar should be fit to play. He is recovering fast and I am delighted with this news,” said Myint Aung.
Sept 14 (Saturday): Third-fourth placing playoff (5.30pm); Final (8.45pm). Both matches will be played at Stadium Darul Makmur.
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