Hyderabad, Aug 7 (UNI) Striker Sunil Chetri's header helped hosts India defeat Myanmar by a solitary goal to move into the final of the AFC Challenge Cup football tournament played at GMC Balayogi stadium, here today.
Both the teams got several chances but could not utilise them, with wet ground conditions making it difficult for them.
India's star striker Baichung Bhutia was heavily marked by Myanmar defenders Win Moe and Maung Lwin Khin and was not allowed to make good attacks in front of the goal mouth.
Finally, India broke the deadlock in the 81st minute with Sunil Chetri's header off a pass from Steven Dias through couple of players in front of the goal.
India, after gaining a crucial 1-0 lead, kept the momentum and did not allow the opposition to score with all falling back to defend.
Initially, it was Myanmar which dominated the game and got a golden chance to take the lead in the 34th minute with striker Paing Yan's powerful shot being cleared by Indian defender Anwar.
Couple of minutes later, India too got a good chance but Myanmar defenders cleared Bhutia's shot.
India, too, got an opportunity in the 40th minute when Myanmar goal keeper Aung Aung Oo coming out this time while Sunil Chetri's shot went out far side.
Immediately after the interval, India got a series of chances but ball could not move in the soggy ground due to heavy rains.
In the 54th minute, Indian goalkeeper Subrata Paul was alert to save Pang Yan's shots twice. A couple of minutes later, Lawrance Climax missed a shot which went over the bar.
Partisan crowd roared as Baichung Bhutia scored a goal but linesman signalled it an offside. Though, India got a flag corner, it failed to convert it.
In the 62nd minute, Renedy Singh was a bit slow to receive the ball as the pass went straight into the hands of Mtyanmar goalkeeper Aung Aung Oo.
A rough tackling of Baichung near the penalty area earned a free kick in the 67th minute, with Steven Dias taking the shot, striker Sunil Chetri took the ball in the meele but his left footer sent the ball out.
Myanmar almost scored a goal in the 77th minute, when alert Indian custodian Subrata Paul deflected substitute striker Si Thu Win's shot with his left hand.
UNI XC RAR RN1837