India top group after Myanmar stalemate

Margao: Already through to the main tournament, India played out a 2-2 draw against Myanmar in the return leg match of the AFC Asian Cup qualifying Group A match here Tuesday. They came back twice in the match to hold the visitors and take their unbeaten streak to 13 matches.

Myanmar scored through Yan Naing Oo (first minute) and Kyaw Ko Ko (19th) while Sunil Chhetri (13th; penalty) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (69th) found the target at the Nehru Stadium here. India had beaten Myanmar 1-0 in the first leg in Yangon in March. With Tuesday’s stalemate, India topped the group with 13 points from five games.

True to captain Chhetri’s words that Myanmar are a tough side, the visitors scored even before the home team defence could settle down.

A quick build up on the left saw Thein Than run down the left flank and send a perfect cross into the box for Yan Naing to head in to put the home team under early pressure. The hosts nearly a second goal a couple of minutes later, but custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu effected a fine save off Kyaw.

India however, settled down and soon earned a penalty when Heaing Bo Bo brought down Chhetri inside the box. The striker himself took the penalty and restored parity. India’s joy however, was short-lived as Kyaw scored with a stiff grounder that gave Gurpreet no chance.

India looked dangerous in their counter attacks and had a chance to restore parity but Sandesh Jhingan shot over the bar off a free-kick taken by Eugeneson Lyngdoh in the 39th minute. Chhetri too had a glorious chance to restore parity in the dying minutes of the first half but his angular shot off a Jeje through pass missed the target narrowly.

The first 25 minutes of the second session was dominated by India and they restored parity through an opportunistic Jeje. Lyngdoh sent a high lob for Jeje who chested the ball inside the box and essayed a low shot that beat rival keeper to find the far post.

Press Trust of India


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