India face Myanmar challenge in AFC Asian Cup qualifier
India will face a tough challenge in their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign as they take on Myanmar.football Updated: Mar 28, 2017 09:53 IST
The India football team would look to open their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign on a positive note when they take on Myanmar in a potentially tricky match in Yangon on Tuesday.
India have been boosted by a 3-2 victory over Cambodia in their first international friendly of the year last week but it will not be easy to get three points against Myanmar.
Though Myanmar are 40 spots below India (132nd) in the latest FIFA rankings, they have a better head-to-head record and Stephen Constantine’s men will have to play out of their skins if they are to come out triumphant.
The last time the two sides met was also in Yangon, in 2013, and India had lost by a solitary goal in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.
Well aware of India’s unfavourable past record, Constantine had conceded that Myanmar are the favourites in the match but he today said that his side would be happy to draw the match.
“The players have worked very hard to prepare for the game against Myanmar and it will be a challenge for us. We have the utmost respect for Myanmar as they are a very tough Team. I expect a very tough and tight game,” he said.
“India can beat anybody on their day. But that does not mean that you cannot have a bad day. Sometimes there are good days sometimes there are bad days. That is football,” he added.
India have been clubbed in Group A of the qualifying round alongside Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Macau. Three points will give the Indian side a much-needed fillip in an open group where anybody can defeat anybody on their day.
“We believe we have a chance to qualify for the Finals and so does Myanmar and so does every Team in the group. Hence it is vital not to lose our first game,” said Constantine.
“We focus on our home games after our clash against Myanmar and every team will try to secure nine points to get them a qualification to 2019,” he added.
Asked about an expected big turnout for the home team, Constantine quipped: “The pressure will be on the home team. We have worked hard coming into the game and we need to play our best.”
Sunil Chhetri, who will captain the Indian side, said past records will be of no real significance once the teams take to the pitch.
“We have watched a lot of videos of Myanmar’s former matches. And it is clear that we cannot, just cannot underestimate our opponents,” Chhetri said.
“We have come here for three points but it will be an uphill battle against Myanmar,” he said.