Fowler nets five for Australia, Myanmar edge out Uzbekistan

Mandalay: A five-star performance from Mary Fowler helped Australia overpower Nepal, while Myanmar registered an important win over Uzbekistan as Group A got underway in Round 2 of the AFC U-19 Women's Championship Thailand 2019 Qualifiers on Friday.

Myanmar sealed what may prove to be three vital points on the road to Thailand in Friday's later match; scoring just before half-time, then holding off a desperate Uzbekistan to secure a 1-0 win at Mandalar Thiri Stadium.

Chasing a first appearance at the Finals since 2013, group host Myanmar started brightly, attacking with urgency and coming close to opening the scoring on a number of occasions in the early stages.

Lin Myint Mo excited the crowd with an effort that lashed into the side netting in the 10th minute, and Uzbekistan goalkeeper Sarina Zaidova had to be at her best to deny an arrow-like free-kick from Nwe Ni win six minutes later.

Myanmar's pressure eventually told, as San Thaw Thaw beat Saidova to a cross to steer a header into the net in the 41st minute, giving Thet Thet Win's side a crucial lead at half-time.

With matches against Nepal and Australia to come, Uzbekistan knew a result here could be the difference between qualification and elimination, and they threw everything into their effort to pull a goal back in the second half.

Little quarter was given in a gripping, hard-fought second period, but, despite the best efforts of Uzbekistan captain Laylo Shodieva, the Central Asian side's equaliser never materialised, leaving them with an uphill battle if they are to claim one of the two spots on offer at the Finals.

They now face what looms as a must-win encounter with Nepal on Sunday, while Myanmar will face in-form Australia.

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