The White Angel's are two points adrift group leaders India, as the two sides come face-to-face to fight for a top spot finish in the qualifiers...
Franco, Gouramangi, Gaikwad, Gurjinder;
Francis, Mehtab, Lenny, Miranda;
Myanmar had a strong start in the competition, defeating minnows Guam 5-0, before being held to a 1-1 draw by a more resilient Chinese Taipei in their last match on Monday, in which the local outfit's midfield was exposed to a notable extent.
Hence, with four points in two matches as compared to India's six points from as many games, a win is a must for the home nation to book their berth in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, which is the pathway towards the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Sung-Hwa Park's side have considerable issues upfront, with their coach revealing that as many as three of their strikers are out injured, meaning that Kyi Lin will be expected to step up to the occasion, while the 20-year-old will need support from his midfielders, who will have to show the form they did against Guam.
India needs only a draw see themselves through to the main edition finals of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, although a win will do a world of good for the morale of the team, who have recently struggled on the FIFA world rankings chart.
|Jewel Raja (#23) has scored in both games for India
It is evident that Wim Koevermans has a plan with regard to the formation of the Indian national team, by introducing midfielder Jewel Raja to a more attacking role, which has seemingly worked well by far. Sunil Chhetri, who is employed as the lone striker, had shown flashes of brilliance against Guam, with a brace in the last match.
Denzil Franco had also forced his way back into the starting line-up against Guam, after being omitted in favour of Nirmal Chettri for the Men in Blue's opener against the Chinese Taipei, as the right back was only returning from his club duties at the AFC Cup.
India's citadel, however, will have to be alert against Myanmar. It might have appeared easy for the back-line against Guam who hardly tested India's defense, but Myanmar are known to be a team who attack in numbers.
The midfielders of both the teams will also play a crucial role in the encounter, as both the teams focus on playing a possession based style. If the Blue Tigers are to come away with a positive result, they will need Mehtab Hussain and Lenny Rodrigues to be at their best, not allowing the White Angels midfielders any space or time to pick a pass.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Myanmar and India had faced each other in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, in which the latter won by a solitary goal in the semi-finals before beating Tajikistan 4-1 in the final.
- After winning the tournament, India qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup, which was the last time former skipper Bhaichung Bhutia played for India in a tournament.
- The Myanmar team's best ever performance in an Asian Cup came during their Golden Era of the 60's and 70's, when they finished runners-up to Iran in the 1968 edition.
- Apart from that one instance, Myanmar have either not qualified or withdrawn from the competition.
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