The Indian football team has kicked off their journey to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup brilliantly as ‘The Blues’ pulled off a great victory against Myanmar in the opening match of the qualifying round. Kudos to the last gasp winner by the stalwart captain Sunil Chhetri, India beat the home team Myanmar at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon on Tuesday.
Indian football showed great promises when they beat Cambodia last week by 3-2 margin playing away from the home. But the Blues were strugglingin this Group A qualifying match, both in terms of ball possession and chance creations. The Stephen Constantine’s boys started the match brilliantly and put some early pressure on the Myanmar defense. But as the match proceeds, the home team slowly crept in the match and attacked the Indian box numerous times, especially during the later stage of the fist half.
India was struggling major part of the game, although the Blues got some golden chances to get ahead in the game, especially when East Bengal forward Jacki chand Singh missed an easy chance to put the ball into an open net from a cross drilled by his club mate, Robin Singh. In the second half, it was all Myanmar, they dominated the entire half and also created more chances.
In the 63rd minute,Constantine made a pivotal change which changed the colour of the game entirely. He subbed pale looking Robin Singh and brought in Bengaluru FC youngster Udanta Singh to add more flair in the game. Playing only his sixth match for the country, Udanta constantly made runs through the right wing and kept the entire Myanmar defense on their feet. In the 72nd minute, Udanta was clearly tripped down in Myanmar box, but the referee waved off the strong penalty appeal from the Indian team.
When the match was heading for a drab draw, the dramas started to take place. Udantaagain made a brilliant run down the right flank and crossed the ball to the well-positioned Sunil Chhetri who calmly rolled the ball into the net to give the visitors a crucial away win.
With three points in the kitty, India’s next match is againstKyrgyzstan at home on June 13 and they are now in much better place to go through the qualifying round and get the tickets for the coveted2019 AFC Asian Cup which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.