Yangon Training Centre, Yangon
So far so good for the Blue tigers in the AFC challenge cup qualifiers. Two games. Six points.Albeit, India went past the Guam defence as many as four times in their last match, India was far from entertaining and authoritative. After a dissatisfactory performance against Chinese Taipei, Wim’s boys once again struggled in the first half. Captain Sunil Chettri finally broke his draught of goals with a brace. This coupled by a Clifford Miranda and Jewel’s goal made the score line a little flattering in the favour of the Indians.
After garnering maximum points in from their opening two games in the AFC challenge cup qualifiers, team India would be looking to clinch the top position in the group by getting the better of hosts Myanmar in what would a tricky last group match here at the Yangon training centre.
Team News and Tactical Brief
After deploying some surprise selections in the starting eleven, Wim Koovermans will be expected to unleash his best starting line up in the crucial match. Prayag United custodian Subrata Pal would once again start between the bars with club team mate Gouramangi Singh leading the defence. Churchill’s Denzil Franco will take up his right back position with Gurjinder Singh claiming the left overlapping role. East Bengal centre back Raju Gaikwad has so far been impressive in both the matches and would be expected to start as his long throw in’s could prove fatal for a side like Myanmar which doesn’t flaunt a substantial average height of the players.
So far the Dutch coach has experimented on the right flank with Syed Rahim Nabi and Francis Fernandes both getting ample match time in the first two encounters. It will be interesting to see which of them would get the nod for this match. Mehtab Hossain would once again be the driving force from the middle of the park with Lenny alongside in the sheet anchor role, just in front of the back four.
Captain Chettri will lead the attack and Mohun Bagan’s Jewel Raja is expected to start alongside him in a mix of attacking midfielder/ attacker role. So far this combination has worked for the Indians and it is highly unlikely that Wim changes this combination, keeping in mind that both the men have been among the goals.
Expected starting line-up(4-4-1-1): Subrata (GK). Denzil, Gourmangi, Raju, Gurjinder, Syed Rahim, Lenny, Mehtab, Clifford, Jewel, Chettri( C ).
The White Angels, as they are famously known as, were left heart broken in their last match when Chinese Taipei restored parity in the last ten minutes of the game to bag a point from the South East Asians. Myanmar now sits at the second spot in the Group A table behind the table topping Indian side. It is nothing less than a Do-or-Die match for the Burmese as a victory in this match would see them finishing the group on the top, hence qualifying.
It would be surprising if head coach Park Wha deploys a 3-5-2 line-up, just as he did in the match against Chinese Taipei. Defender Phyo Aung could come in the side to replace one of the midfielders. Captain Si Thu is expected to start in the goal with Ang Kyaw leading the defence. Yangon United prodigy Kyi Lin is expected to orchestrate most of the moves in a role of attacking midfielder. Soe Kyaw would be spearheading the attack and would be high on condince after the number thirty seven slotted the only goal for the Burmese. Thet Niang would be the man to watch out for the Indian defenders as his pace could trouble prove vital during the match.
Expected starting line-up (4-4-2): Si Thu ( C & GK ), Min Tun, Zaw OO, Than Win, Phyo Aung, Aung Kyaw, Zayar Win, Kyi Lin, David, Soe Kyaw, Thet Niang.
- Indian Skipper Sunil Chhetri scored a brace after a barren spell of three games.
- Myanmar has scored more goals than what India has managed to, in this fixture.
- India has won twice and drawn the last three matches against the White Angels.
Players To Watch Out For
Although Mehtab Hossain has been in prime form in this tournament, assisting in the both the game, Jewel Raja has equally stood up and has relished the oppurtunity. Jewel is playing in a different role of second striker; different from what he is assigned in Mohun Bagan back home, but the Kolkata based midfielder has been doing a brilliant job just behind the captain.
The Yangon United midfielder will hold the key for the South East Asians in this vital match up tomorrow. Kyi Lin was on target for the white angels in their first match against Guam and assisted the other one.
Myanmar 1-3 India
Two back to back victories, captain scoring a brace after a long time, clean sheet in the last match – all indigents for a gritty and robust performance from the Indians.