Myanmar have bounced back from an opening day defeat to collect their first win of the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup as they saw off Timor-Leste 2-0 at the National Stadium in Singapore.

A first half header from returning striker Than Paing and a tidy finish from captain Maung Maung Lwin five minutes after the restart was enough to keep Myanmar’s hopes alive at the tournament, a result and a performance that pleased coach Antoine Hey.

“We are happy to achieve the win and you could say it was a must-win match to stay in the competition but also we’re not getting too excited because Timor-Leste is a young team and not quite on our level at this time.

“Because of injuries we had to play players out of position and that meant having no centre backs in the squad.

“Overall though I think we could have scored two or three more goals but I was happy with the reaction of the team and we need to have players with this kind of belief and now we focus on a big match next against Thailand”

An entertaining opening period saw Myanmar come close with Hlaing Bo Bo sending off a rasping drive in the 13th minute before they went ahead a minute later as an attempted clearance from Nelson Viegas fell straight to Than Paing who headed home from close range to make it 1-0.

Both teams continued to show positive intent as Myanmar’s David Htan had a long range effort deflected wide midway through the half and then Timor’s lively midfielder Paulo Gali firstly had the ball in the back of the net – but from an offside position in the 26th minute -before ten minutes later he had a close range shot blocked inside the box as the teams went to the break with Myanmar holding a slender advantage.

It took just five minutes after the restart though for Myanmar to double that lead as a swift counter attack saw Hein Htet Aung cross from the right to Maung Maung Lwin who took a couple of nice touches before firing past Junildo Pereira in the Timorese goal to make it 2-0 in the 50th minute.

Both teams continued to show good attacking intent as firstly the pacy Gali shot straight at Myo Min Latt in the Myanmar goal on the hour and then Myat Kaung Khant sent an off-balance header wide of the target shortly afterwards.

Man of the match Maung Maung Lwin then clipped the crossbar with an effort from just inside the top of the box with a quarter of an hour remaining and after they had a penalty shout waved away ten minutes later that was the way that things ended with Myanmar picking up their first points of the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup.

For Timor, it was another positive showing and one that coach Fabio Maciel said was a step forward.

“This is a huge experience for the players and we are continuing to build things for the future and showing better football but of course it’s also about the present.

“This match was more open that the one against Thailand but for sure we’re looking to rest and recover and then aim to collect our first points in the next match.”