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Myanmar hammers Challenge Cup champions Palestine, books place in Peace Cup Final

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No grudge match for the Azkals. 2014 AFC Challenge Cup champions Palestine, who defeated the Philippines in a thrilling final, are out of the Peace Cup Finals after a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Myanmar. Shifty attacking midfielder Kyaw Zayar Win rifled in 2 goals and set up another for the free-flowing “White Angels”.

The Palestinians cobbled together a makeshift line-up only a few days before the tournament, and their inexperience was woefully exploited by the slick Burmese passing machine. Myanmar midfielders Kyaw Zayar Win and Tin Win Aung orchestrated proceedings from the get-go, probing the tentative Palestinian defence with flick-ons and through-balls. The White Angels’ possession bore dividends in the 27th minute of the match, as speedy combination play between talismanic No. 10 Kyaw Ko Ko and Kyaw Zayar Win resulted in a delightfully simple opening goal for Kyaw Zayar Win. The “Burmese Messi” Kyaw Ko Ko was at it again at the one-third mark of the game, whipping in a tantalizing cross behind the outclassed Palestinian defence. Thankfully for Palestine, it was also just a few inches too far from the rushing Burmese. At the 36 minute mark, it was again the skilful Kyaw Zayar Win who was at the forefront of proceedings. The White Angels’ midfield maestro sliced open the Palestinian’s left flank with a series of short passes, before serving up an easy goal for the speedy Tin Win Aung. Down 2-0 and without a real foothold in the game, Palestine was reduced to speculative efforts from way outside the penalty box. As the whistle blew for half-time, the Manila rain paused for a break. Unfortunately for the beleaguered Palestine team, the Myanmar offense did not. Palestine turned to a hyper-aggressive high press to generate shots and harass the physically unimposing Burmese, but the White Angels immediately punished this strategy with a blistering counterattack. On 48 minutes, Myanmar raced down the field on a 3v3 breakaway. Kyaw Zayar Win and Kyaw Ko Ko continued their marvellous link-up play to disintegrate Palestine’s backline and hand Kyaw Zayar Win the Burmese’ 3rd goal. At 3-0, the game appeared to be beyond the Palestinians, but 21-year old star man Kyaw Ko Ko rubbed salt in their wounds with a dazzling piece of technique. In the 77th minute, Myanmar’s magician audaciously flicked the ball over two lead-footed Palestinians in midfield, before sprinting down the right to beat two more, squaring the ball to Nanda Lin Kyaw Chit for the Burmese’ final tally. With the game decided and heading into injury time, Palestine salvaged a measure of pride after nifty passing freed Ahmed Wridat for a consolation goal.

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