India come from behind twice to draw against Myanmar
India were held to a 2-2 draw against Myanmar in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Tuesday. Yan Naing OO opened the scoring in the first minute but Sunil Chhetri equalized from the spot. Kyaw Ko Ko then helped Myanmar re-establish their lead only for Jeje Lalpekhlua to cancel him out in the second half.
Myanmar stunned the hosts by taking the lead with just 13 seconds on the clock. The visitors caught India’s defence napping after Aung Thu pushed the ball to the left for Thein Than Win to cross perfectly into the box before Yan Naing OO headed into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
They didn’t relent either and were on the front foot in search of a second but India got back into the game after Chhetri earned his side a penalty. The Indian skipper stepped up to the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way to level things up at 1-1 in the 13th minute.
The visitors regained their lead just six minutes later when Kyaw Ko Ko unleashed a powerful effort from range that slipped beneath Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and rippled the back of the net to put the Blue Tigers behind for the second time in the match.
The hosts went up a gear or two as the half progressed and created several chances in search of another equalizer. A Sandesh Jhingan header was saved by the Myanmar goalkeeper, while Chhetri was denied what looked like a certain penalty shortly after the half-hour mark.
Jhingan had another opportunity to level the score 10 minutes later but couldn’t keep his effort from a Eugeneson Lyngdoh free-kick on target. India’s last chance of the half went to Chhetri, however, India’s all-time leading goal-scorer dragged his shot wide of goal as the hosts went in trailing Myanmar 2-1 at the break.
India’s first big opportunity of the second period also went to Chhetri, who nodded a cross from the right inches wide of goal to the despair of the home crowd. A dangerous cross soon after then evaded both Jeje and Chhetri as India started to knock on Myanmar’s door for an equalizer.
Their persistence paid off in the 69th minute when a wonderful ball by Lyngdoh from deep inside his own half was brought down perfectly by Jeje in the penalty area before the Mizo Sniper finished clinically into the bottom right corner to square things up at 2-2.
Myanmar tried to hit back and let fly from distance again in the 75th minute but this time Sandhu was up to task and made the save. India did have the ball in the back of the net for a third time shortly before the full-time whistle after receiving an indirect freekick in the box for a deliberate back pass by Myanmar to their keeper.
Chhetri scored the free-kick but it was disallowed after the referee adjudged it to have been taken directly. He had another big chance in stoppage-time but shot over the bar for the game to end all square as India extended their unbeaten streak to 13 matches. The draw leaves India in top spot with 13 points from five matches in Group A.