2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier: India vs Myanmar Preview - Blue Tigers look to end unbeaten 2017 on a high
Stephen Constantine's side have already booked their place in the tournament finals in UAE but will look to continue their 12-match unbeaten streak...

For the first time in a while, the Indian national team will step onto the pitch knowing no harm would be done to their primal motive - reach the Asian Cup, irrespective of the result after ninety minutes of football.

That is the safety net the subcontinental side has achieved before they take on neighbours Myanmar in a 2019 AFC Asian Cup third round qualification Group A game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda in Goa on Tuesday.

A 4-1 win against Macau last month had opened up an eight-point divide at the top - securing passage to Asia's showpiece event for India, after missing out on the 2015 edition. In fact, this was the Blue Tigers' first entry via direct qualification since 1984, given they won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup to find a place in Qatar, 2011.

With a cent percent record in the group, India have picked up smart victories along the way and head coach Stephen Constantine would find no reason to alter things. With the domestic club season approaching too, the players would be itching to put one final push donning the national colours this calendar year.

India have a full-strength squad barring midfield lynchpin Rowllin Borges, nursing a limb tear. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will guard the net as the familiar quartet of Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan and Narayan Das will welcome the defense.

With Borges' injury, two spots open up in central midfield. Constantine spoke of testing the bench strength and Germanpreet Singh will grab the opportunity with both hands. With Eugeneson Lyngdoh likely to make way, one of Mohammad Rafique or a fit-again Pronay Halder will demand a place in the lineup. Jackichand and Udanta Singh with Halicharan Narzary will fight it out to flank skipper Sunil Chhetri with Jeje Lalpekhlua up top.

The team ranked 105th last lost a game in March 2016 and a thirteen-match unbeaten run would be on their sights before they face the Kyrgyz Republic away from home in their last qualifier, only in March 2018.

India Myanmar VS PS

As for Myanmar, who were beaten by the finest of margins in this reverse fixture with none other than Chhetri latching onto a superb assist from Udanta in stoppage time, they could only hope complacency kicks in and the White Angels pounce on the opportunity to move from four points on the table.

Head coach Gerd Zeise fielded an experimental lineup in their latest friendly on 9 November against Cambodia. The inclusion of fringe players Zin Min Tun, Hlaing Bo Bo and Thet Naing along with goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Htet did yield a 2-1 win but Thiha Sithu, David Htan, Thein Than Win and Tin Win Aung are imminent comeback-makers for the India game.

Winger Kyaw Ko Ko and frontman Aung Thu are in form players the Indian defenders would have to look out for, scoring a combined eight goals in 2017. A lot will depend upon skipper Yan Aung Kyaw and Yan Naing Oo to keep possession of the ball from the centre of the park. 

Win Min Htut has a new partner in defense, Zaw Min Tun replacing Phyo Ko Ko but the trio and their understudies have conceded ten goals in the calendar year. Their raw pace and quick passing will be the strengths to rely on for the aim of making the Asian Cup after 51 years.

Myanmar India Asian Cup Qualification 2017

However, they have played a game less as the Kyrgyz Republic refused to host them in the summer citing internal safety issues pertaining the ongoing Rohingya crisis. The rescheduled fixture confirmations is yet to be approved.

All in all, on the occasion of Children's Day in India, the game could not have been more fittingly hosted by one of the Nehru Stadiums across the nation, the day observed in the loving memory of independent India's first Prime Minister.

All roads lead to Fatorda. Kick-off is at 8 PM (IST).


India vs Myanmar possible IND XI

Possible Myanmar XI



Injured: Rowllin Borges, Nikhil Poojari, Hitesh Sharma
Suspended: None
Key Players: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua


Injured: Zin Min Tun, Hein Thiha Zaw
Suspended: None
Key Players: Kyaw Ko Ko, Aung Thu


Myanmar Myanmar
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