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India fight back against Myanmar to maintain unbeaten run \

India fight back against Myanmar to maintain unbeaten run \

14 Nov 2017 No comment 38 hits

Margao: India stoically defended its unbeaten run of 13 matches but had to twice wipe off the deficit to hold Myanmar 2-2 in an Asian Cup 2019 qualifier at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Tuesday.

Having already qualified for the Asian Cup as one of the two best-placed teams in the group, coach Stephen Constantine was looking to seal top spot, but, unless Kyrgyzstan drop points, will now need another point from their last qualifier.

Myanmar’s qualification will now hinge on their next clash against Kyrgyzstan – likely only in March after a postponement due to security fears – and they could have warmed up in style for that decider after stunning hosts when the match kicked off.

The match was just 14 seconds old when Yan Naing gave the visitors the lead, only for captain Sunil Chhetri to convert a penalty in the 13th minute. Myanmar took the lead again in the 19th minute through Kyaw Ko Ko and it stayed like that till half-time. When ends were changed, India took control and drew level with a goal from Jeje Lalpekhlua in the 69th minute.

India will be relieved that they protected their record under Constantine but, given the number of chances they spurned all along, three points were there for the taking. Sandesh Jhingan, impressive in defence, couldn’t give finishing touches twice, while Chhetri’s final touch deserted him in the final minute of play.

In-between, Eugeneson Lyngdoh missed from close range and substitute Anirudh Thapa could have found the back of the net with only his first touch of the game. This wasn’t India doing what they have done all along in the qualifiers; taking their chances in front of goal.

Myanmar were impressive, at least in the first 45 minutes. They were quick with the ball at their feet, remained compact and gave rival defenders a difficult time. Their 14-second goal when Yan Naing rose over Jerry Lalrinzuala should have set the tone.

Instead, they took one touch too many in good positions and soon enough Chhetri won a penalty which he himself converted.

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh’s failure to collect what seemed like a feeble attempt from Kyaw Ko Ko raised eyebrows. The shot from just outside the box sailed beneath the otherwise impressive goalkeeper’s outstretched hands, silencing fans more than the first minute goal. But whatever hopes Myanmar may have entertained, were crushed in the second half as Jeje chested a ball from Udanta Singh and then beat the rival goalkeeper with an angular drive.

After 180 minutes, it is Chhetri’s wonderful counter-attacking goal away in Myanmar that separates the two teams. On the points table, though, there is a vast difference. India are sitting pretty at the top with 13 points from five matches while Myanmar have only five.
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Source: India fight back against Myanmar to maintain unbeaten run \

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