Sports Myanmar Qualifier

India and Myanmar saw a 2-2 draw in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier. (Indian Football Team Twitter photo)

FATORDA — India rode on a second half strike from Jeje Lalpekhlua to eke out a 2-2 draw against Myanmar in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier here Nov. 14.

Lalpekhlua chested down a long cross from Eugeneson Lyngdoh before scoring with an accurate finish in the 69th minute. 

India has won 11 of the last 13 matches and is unbeaten in all of them. The team has already ensured qualification for the continental championship and the clash with Myanmar was only of academic interest. 

India is at the top spot in Group A with 13 points from five matches.

But India's performance in the Nov. 14 match was nothing to write home about. Before Lalpekhlua's goal, the hosts were struggling to keep up with the visitors. 

Myanmar had taken the lead within the first 20 seconds after Naing Oo Yan jumped above a sleeping Indian defense to head in Thein Than Win's cross from the left flank.

Sunil Chhetri got the equalizer for India when he converted a penalty in the 13th minute. Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh virtually handed back the lead to Myanmar on a platter with an atrocious blunder just seven minutes later.

Kyaw Ko Ko's shot from outside the box had seemed harmless, but Gurpreet Singh made heavy weather of what should have been a simple save.

The visitors continued to dominate and Gurpreet Singh had to be at full stretch to keep out a weel directed freekick in the 35th minute.

Four minutes later, India missed a chance to get back on level terms when Sandesh Jhingan's attempt from the edge of the six-yard box sailed inches over the bar after the ball had fallen kindly for him after a deflection off a freekick.

Chhetri almost got his second of the match in the 58th minute when his header off Udanta Singh's cross from the right went inches wide of the Myanmar upright.

Lalpekhlua went close for India a couple of minutes later but Win Min Htut kept him at bay by deflecting his shot for a corner.

India's increasing momentum culminated in Lalpekhlua's goal. It continued to be an equally matched affair after that and India denied a winning goal when Jhingan failed to score from close range.

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