India’s talisman Sunil Chhetri scored a goal at the death to give the Blue Tigers a fortuitous win against Myanmar…

Sunil Chhetri turns saviour for the Blue Tigers

India recorded a 1-0 win against Myanmar at the Thuwanna YTC Stadium in Yangon courtesy a goal at the death by talisman Sunil Chhetri. Stephen Constantine made a clutch of changes from the side that overcame Cambodia. Jeje Lalpekhlua started beside Robin Singh while Jackichand Singh was deployed on the right wing. In defense, Anas Edathodika was partnered by Sandesh Jhingan.

Myanmar meanwhile began with two men upfront in the guise of Aung Thu and Kyaw Ko Ko while Si Thu Aung and Yan Naing Oo started on the wings.

The home side’s front two combination made life miserable for the Indian defenders and in the eighth minute Gurpreet had to be on his toes as he came out and smothered the ball with Ko Ko looking to get on the through ball played by Thu.

In the 12th minute Ko Ko’s audacious chip from his own half, seeing Gurpreet off his line missed the target narrowly.

India were looking haggard in the opening quarters but Robin Singh did well to win the ball and play it on to Chhetri but there was no way through as the Myanmar defense stood strong. Narayan Das’s follow up cross too was blocked.

A lovely move from the men in Red saw India caught napping once more. A quick free kick from Tun in defense found Htan in acres of space down the right who showed impeccable control to flick it on to the path of Thu who tried to find the far corner but managed to sky it in the 15th minute.

India followed it up with a miss of their own as Jeje Lalpekhlua made space for himself from about 25 yards but could only hit it over the goal. Ko Ko meanwhile spurned another glorious chance after being played through by Si Thu Aung but sliced his effort with Anas doing well to put him off.

Pritam Kotal came up with a clearance in the 24th minute as Ko Ko squared it across the face of the goal only to see it miss Thu Aung in front of goal.

In the 28th minute India had an opening following Narayan Das’s cross from the left which goalkeeper Si Thu put in the path of Jackichand Singh whose chip towards goal was somehow parried out by Si Thu who had recovered his bearings on time.

Four minutes after the hour mark, Blue Tigers carved the best chance of the match as Robin Singh’s cross from the left side fell to Jackichand Singh staring at an open goal. The winger somehow lost his footing and sliced his shot over the bar, before going down in disbelief at having missed such an easy chance.

In the 36th minute Chhetri had only Si Thu to beat but the Myanmar goalkeeper did well to make himself big and smother the chance.

Ko Ko was again at it a minute before half time as he found space down the right but his grounded effort towards the far post was inches wide.

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