Thailand reaches SEA Games football final

KUALA LUMPUR: A Chenrop Samphaodi header in the fifth minute of injury time gave Thailand a 1-0 victory over Myanmar on Saturday and a ticket to the SEA Games men’s football final.

Chenrop took advantage of a defensive miscue by Myanmar to nod home Suriya Singmui’s cross from the left to give Thailand the winner in a very evenly contested match at Selayang Stadium.

The result was a bitter blow for Myanmar, who have been gaining respect throughout the tournament and had hoped to advance further.

Thailand, the two-time defending champions, will meet the winner of the Malaysia-Indonesia match being played on Saturday evening. The final will take place on Tuesday evening at the Shah Alam Stadium.

The Thai Under-22 side finished on top of Group B after shocking Vietnam 3-0 in their last round-robin stage game on Thursday on goals from Phitiwat Sookjitthummakul, Phicha Au-tra and Chenrop Samphaodi.

Myanmar, runners-up at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore after losing 3-0 to Thailand in the gold medal match, finished second behind Malaysia in Group A, but had an extra day’s rest before the semi-final.

Both sides, meanwhile, had to contend with a 3pm kickoff on Saturday, after organisers declined Thailand’s request to schedule the semi-final in the evening so players wouldn’t have to deal with the afternoon heat.

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