SINGAPORE - Thailand extended their stranglehold over regional football, cruising to a 3-0 win over Myanmar in the SEA Games final to retain their gold at the National Stadium on Monday.
The Thais have now claimed the SEA Games football crown in 14 of the 28 editions. Their senior team were also victorious at last year's Asean Football Championship.
In front of more than 30,000 fans, the War Elephants mustered 15 shot attempts in the first half alone, but found Myanmar goalkeeper Phyo Kyaw Zin in top form.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute when centre-back Tanaboon Kesarat sidefooted home after a scramble from a corner. The Thai bench erupted in joy, while Tanaboon and his team-mates hurdled over advertising boards to celebrate in front of their fans.
Striker Chananan Pombubpha gave them more reason to cheer just past the hour mark, latching onto Nurul Sriyankem's slide-rule pass to slot past a helpless Phyo. Substitute Pinyo Inpinit capped another sleek passing move to grab his team's third goal in the 78th minute.
Myanmar's fanatical supporters, who outnumbered the Thais three to one, were on their feet throughout the match, chanting themselves hoarse even when their team won a corner.
They applauded their team at the final whistle, proud of the fact that the country had reached the final for the first time since 1993, when the Games were last held in Singapore.
The White Angels were without several key players like striker Kyaw Ko Ko and playmaker Naing Lin Oo, owing to their participation at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand and the ongoing 2018 World Cup qualifiers.