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The hosts had to avoid defeat to reach the semis, but had no reply to Alfin Tuasalamony’s first half penalty which was enough to send the Indonesians through to the final four

Indonesia came back from the dead to beat hosts Myanmar 1-0 and dramatically seal a place in the semi-finals of the SEA games at the Thuwunna Stadium on Monday evening.

The hosts started the match as favourites after convincing wins against Cambodia (3-0) and Timor Leste (3-1), which was followed by a creditable 1-1 draw against Thailand.

Indonesia, on the other hand, were on the brink of elimination after a disappointing goalless draw against minnows Timor Leste and a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Thailand before that.

Few would have predicted Indonesia to come out as victors, but Alfin Tuasalamony’s goal proved to be the difference as he converted a penalty after Myanmar goalkeeper Pyae Phyo Aung brought him down inside the penalty box.

Myanmar tried their best to find an equaliser but they were unable to break down a resolute Indonesian defense. Their frustration was compounded in added time when they were reduced to ten men after forward Ye Lin Aung was dismissed.

The result meant that both teams finished Group B with seven points, but Indonesia’s better head-to-head record meant that they finished in second place ahead of the hosts.

Myanmar coach Park Sung Wha was left stunned with the result, not just because of the defeat, but because he was not aware of the tournament rules that prioritises the head-to-head rule before goal difference.

“I knew this procedure only at the end of this match,” he said.

“I didn’t really think about this match result because I already expected us to go to the semi-finals. I did not put enough concentration in this match, that’s why I didn’t know about the group stage procedures and the ranking system.

“I take all responsibility. It’s my fault. I’m very sorry to all the supporters and the players who have given their best.”

Indonesia coach Rahmad Darmawan refused to get drawn in with regards to his counterpart’s oversight, choosing instead to focus on his players’ performance.

“Today all the players had a big performance,” he said.

“Now we’ll just focus on the recovery for the players and get ready for our next match against Malaysia or Vietnam.”

In the other Group B match on Monday evening, Thailand sealed top spot after a goalless draw against Cambodia.

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