Yangon: Myanmar captain Maung Maung Lwin struck deep into second-half stoppage time to deny Laos a first win in the tournament since 2004 as the two sides played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in Group B of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 at Thuwunna Stadium on Friday. 

Captain Soukaphone Vongchiengkham gave Laos a surprise lead in the 12th minute, but their defence switched off three minutes later as an unchallenged Kyaw Min Oo headed in the equaliser for Myanmar from a set-piece.

Ekkamai Ratxachak’s stunning strike at the start of the second half was looking likely to be a historic winner for Michael Weiss’ Laos, but Maung Maung Lwin planted his free-kick in the back of the net in the 96th minute to spare the home side’s blushes. 

Myanmar hogged the possession in the opening minutes, but it was Laos who took a surprise lead through captain Soukaphone in the 12th minute. The 30-year-old, on a record-breaking 55th appearance for his country, arrived in the box to score his 15th international goal from a Phoutthavong Sangvilay cross. 

But the visitors’ lead lasted less than three minutes. Myat Kaung Khant’s free-kick from the right was headed back across the Laos penalty area by Zeyar Lin Hein and an unmarked Kyaw Min Oo was there to head home his first international goal. 

Myat Kaung Khant saw his strike tipped over the crossbar by Laos goalkeeper Xaysavath Souvanhnasok at the half hour mark. 

Aung Kaung Mann then had two gilt-edged chances to give Myanmar the lead in the final minutes of the first half, but the striker’s finishing was found wanting on both occasions after being picked out inside the box by quality crosses from right-back David Htan. 

Antoine Hey might have sent out his Myanmar players to kill off the game in the second half, but it was Laos who came out of the blocks flying following the restart.

Ekkamai received the ball from Phithack Kongmathilath with his back to the goal, but turned his marker and powered his left-footed strike past Tun Nanda Oo in the Myanmar goal to give Laos a 2-1 lead just one minute into the second period. 

Xaysavath preserved Laos’ slender advantage with a string of saves during the remainder of the game. In the 59th minute, he saved from a Kyaw Zin Lwin header shortly before denying Maung Maung Lwin, who will miss Myanmar’s last group stage outing against Vietnam due to suspension. 

Substitute Ye Yint Aung found space inside the box in the 79th minute, but Xaysavath was there to produce a save yet again before Kyaw Min Oo struck the woodwork with two minutes left of the regulation time. 

It looked like Laos had secured their first points in the AFF Championship since 2012, but Myanmar had one last chance with a free-kick from 35 yards out that skipper Maung Maung Lwin expertly planted past Xaysavath with seconds left on the clock.