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FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Myanmar comfortably clear Macau challenge to qualify for World Cup Qualifiers Round 2

Published at :October 19, 2023 at 12:44 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : AFC)

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Myanmar won 5-1 on aggregate

Myanmar confirmed their progress from the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 on Tuesday with a 0-0 draw with hosts Macau completing a 5-1 aggregate victory for the Southeast Asians.

Myanmar will go into Round 2 in Group B where they will have Japan, Syria and DPR Korea as their opponents, with their opening game against Hajime Moriyasu’s Samurai Blue in Osaka on November 16.

Holding a healthy advantage from the first leg at home, Myanmar almost extended their aggregate lead in the 15th minute.

Maung Maung Lwin’s corner from the left almost caught Macau cold, but Kyaw Min Oo could only bend his low shot wide from the edge of the penalty area wide of Ho Man Fai’s left post.

Chan Man sent his free kick over the bar three minutes later while captain Nikki Torrao went closer still in the 23rd minute, the veteran forward driving his downward header wide of the post when Lei Cheng Lam’s cross from the left found him with time and space to score.

Myanmar’s Thet Hein Soe sent his half-volley high over the bar after a lofted ball behind the Macau defence found him unmarked five yards from goal while Aung Thu was also off target, ballooning his shot from inside the penalty area.

Aung Thu then headed into Ho’s arms as the end of the half edged nearer, with Myanmar looking the more likely to add to the scoreline from the first leg.

But it was Torrao who went close again as the half entered injury time, once more heading marginally off target when Leung Chi Seng found him with a cross from the left.

Aung Thu sent his shot wide four minutes after the restart having cut inside from the left while Lwin Moe Aung put his attempt over the bar when Aung Thu and Maung Maung Lwin had cut their way through the Macau midfield.

The hosts, however, carried a threat on the break with Sann Satt Naing having to deny Nuno Pereira in the 53rd minute.

Substitute Suan Lam Mang’s 70th minute header was straight at Ho after meeting Maung Maung Lwin’s centre from the right and while both teams pressed for the decisive goal on the night, Myanmar’s place in the next round was never in doubt.