Yangon: Than Piang’s solitary strike nine minutes from time earned Yangon United a 1-0 win over Hougang United at Thuwunna Stadium on Tuesday as the club from Myanmar maintained their unbeaten start to Group F of the 2020 AFC Cup.
Tin Maung Tun’s team dominated throughout the 90 minutes but looked set to be frustrated by Hougang goalkeeper Khariulhin Khalid and their own poor finishing until Than rolled his effort home to secure all three points.
The win moves Yangon onto seven points from their opening three games of the 2020 campaign while Hougang remain on the three points earned in their opening day win over Lao Toyota.
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The Singaporeans did well to make it to the interval without conceding as Yangon United threatened repeatedly throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Emmanuel Uzochukwu carried much of the threat, with support from Ernest Barfo, Aung Kyaw Naing and Maung Maung Lwin, and it was a lack of coolheaded finishing and the goalkeeping of Khairulhin that kept Hougang in the game.
Kahirulhin was called into action with just three minutes on the clock when he palmed Maung’s effort from outside the area around the post and Aung squandered his opportunity to score midway through the half when he slid an effort wide.
Maung’s quickly taken free-kick opened up the Hougang defence, allowing Uzochukwu to find Aung in position to score, only to miss the target again.
The opportunities continued to fall to the home side, with Uzochukwu firing narrowly over from distance after a surging run through the Hougang United midfield that left the visitors trailing in his wake.
With the clock ticking into injury time, Khairulhin did well to block Uzochukwu’s header at close range as Yangon United finished the first half well on top but with nothing to show for their dominance.
The pattern continued into the early exchanges of the second half, with Ernest Aboubacar Congo heading over as Yangon United continued their frustrating search for an opener.
As Yangon struggled, Hougang’s hopes of an unlikely goal grew. Hafiz Sujad could only find the hands of goalkeeper Sann Sat Naing with his header while Sahil Suhaimi twice failed to find the target in quick succession.
The inability to make the most of those chances was to cost Hougang as Yangon finally claimed the goal their dominance deserved.
Maung was gifted possession inside the Singaporean side’s half and, after driving towards goal, he laid the ball off for Than Piang to slot calmly past Khairulhin and seal a well-deserved win.
The two teams face off again in Singapore on April 15.
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