29th August 2007 – The Malaysia Under-23 team scored a perfect gift for the country’s 50th anniversary of Merdeka this year when they beat Myanmar 3-1 in the final of the 39th Merdeka Tournament tonight at the Stadium Shah Alam.
In front of more than 40,000 fans, the national Under-23 side under head coach B. Sathianathan grabbed the title with goals from Mohd Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak in the 12th minute, an own goal from Aung Myo Thant in the 56th minute and then from Mohd Safee Sali in the 60th minute for the well-deserved victory.
Myanmar’s only goal of the evening came off Tun Tun Win in the 73rd minute.
“I am very pleased with the players,”said Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, the president of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) who was present at the match (pic) to present the USD 10,000 prize money to the winning team.
“Sathia will remain as the coach because the boys seem to like him where today, they went all out in the game and they truly deserved to win.
“For the upcoming FAM Congress, I hope that they will make sure that the right people will be put at the right place.”
With Malaysia’s last win of the Merdeka Tournament back in 1993, the Malaysian lads were full of vigour in the opening quarter as they pressed Myanmar into their own half.
In the 12th minute off a pass from Safee, strike mate Zaquan had only Myanmar keeper to beat before slotting home to give Malaysia the lead to rapturous delight.
The score at the break was 1-0 to Malaysia.
Myanmar did not have the best of start in the second half when in an attempt to make a clearance from an effort off Safee, they conceded an own goal in the 56th minute defender Aung Myo Thant turned the ball into his own net.
Malaysia then completed their win on the night four minutes later when off a pass from Amirulhadi Zainal, Safee blasted the ball home to put Malaysia in a comfortable position.
Tun Tun Win gave Myanmar a glimmer of hope when he scored in the 73rd minute from inside Malaysia’s penalty box but by then the game was already beyond contention.
As if to add insult to injury, Kyaw Khing Win was red carded two minutes to the end in a game which saw six yellow cards being flashed.
Despite the defeat tonight, Myanmar still walked away with the USD 5,000 prize money.