Former Pune FC striker Jeje Lalpekhlua opened the scoring but it was canceled out ten minutes later by Myanmar Mai Naiang. However Malswamfela's goal five minutes before the break proved to be the winner for Desmond Bulpin's side.
Desmond Bulpin named two senior players in his line-up in the form of Nirmal Chettri and N.Mohanraj while Myanmar started with a 4-3-3 formation.
It was India who started better with Jeje finding the back of the net in the very first minute but the linesman called for a foul throw in the build-up to the goal.
Nirmal Chettri made his presence felt in the aerial battles as his header from a Jewel Raja cross in the ninth minute was saved by goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Htet.
India’s efforts paid off in the 24th minute as Lalrindika’s free-kick saw Jeje place the ball into the net to make it 1-0 for the home side.
Ten minutes later, Mai Naiang restored parity for the visitors after a misunderstanding between Nirmal Chhetri and Gurpreet Sandhu allowed the striker enough time and space to do the needful.
Shilton D’Silva had a decent attempt from 30 yards which sailed over the bar by not much and his partnership with Jewel Raja in the middle of the park saw the India Colts enjoy more possession.
However, India did manage to claw their way back as Malswamfela collected a flick on by Jeje from a goal-kick and his resultant shot dipped into the second post in the 40th minute.
In the second half, it was the visitors who were the better attacking side as Indians chose to more or less relax on the back of their one goal advantage.
Jeje spurned a couple of opportunities in the 60th and 81st minute as he failed to provide the final touch to crosses from Shilton D’Silva and Jewel Raja respectively.
The match failed to light up the arena but an Indian win sent the minimal attendance at the stadium back home on a satisfying note. However, Myanmar do have an important away goal advantage and the contest is evenly balanced with the tie to be decided in the second leg on March 9 in Yangoon.
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