Margao, November 14: India rallied twice to steal a point from Myanmar in their final home fixture of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifiers, against Myanmar, at the Pandit JLN Stadium in Goa. They extended their unbeaten streak to 13 games as a result of the 2-2 draw.
Sunil Chhetri (13th minute) converted a penalty and Jeje Lalpekhlua (69th) then struck a second equaliser for India. India continue to top Group A with 13 points from five matches. India conceded in the 19th second of the match through Yang Naing. Kyaw Ko Ko scored the visitors' second goal in the 19th minute of the game.
Having conceded in the 19th second of the match, India regrouped fast. A build-up down the left enabled India to restore parity when Hlaing Bo Bo brought captain Chhetri down inside the box in the 13th minute. The latter gleefully converted from the spot, digging the ball to the left of Myanmar goalkeeper Kyaw Zin to score his 56th goal for India.
Six minutes later, Myanmar surged into the lead again as Kyaw Ko Ko rattled the back of the net from around 20 yards out.
But that didn't demoralise India. Udanta Singh and Halicharan Narzary switched flanks and Udanta, in particular, did manage to sneak in past his marker on a couple of occasions, but the rival defence managed to recover in time.
India came close in the 30th minute when Sandesh Jhingan leapt higher than all to connect Eugeneson Lyngdoh's corner, but an acrobatic Zin managed to keep it at bay.
After the changeover, Holicharan Narzary tried a couple of long-rangers to beat the Myanmar goalie, but his efforts went abegging.
At the stroke of the hour-mark, Pritam Kotal floated a scintillating cross from the right wing to Chhetri, but the latter's steering header missed the target narrowly.
Jeje Lalpekhlua, however, had the final say. Eugeneson Lyngdoh played it long from the middle of the pitch to Lalpekhlua, who calmly converted to make it 2-2.
Coach Stephen Constantine introduced fresh pairs of legs in Bikash Jairu and Anirudh Thapa by withdrawing Narzary and Lyngdoh in the 76th and 82nd minutes respectively.'
In the 84th minute, Chhetri took a calculated free-kick which could have been converted by Jhingan but finally, the defender's effort got jammed into the goalkeeper's gloves.
In the 86th minute, Chhetri put his hand up to convert another free-kick, this time an indirect one. He was spot on, but the goal was disallowed.
In added time, Jeje and Thapa combined well to pass it to Chhetri, but the skipper's effort went just over the bar.
India survived some tense moments in the end but managed to remain unbeaten. They are now on a 13-match unbeaten streak.
India will play their last match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifiers against the Kyrgyz Republic on March 27, 2018.
Source: AIFF Media