A 90th minute equalizer from substitute C.S. Sabeeth earned India a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their Pre-Olympic qualifier against Myanmar in Yangon on Wednesday afternoon, which gave them a 3-2 aggregate win over the ASEAN outfit.
Myanmar opened the scoring in the 64th minute through substitute Kyaw Ko Ko and were going through on away goals until Viva Kerala's C.S. Sabeeth grabbed the vital equalizer for Desmond Bulpin's side.
India now progress from the preliminary round to the first round of the 2012 AFC Olympic Qualifiers, where they will face a team from the top 13 of the continent. The draw for that takes place on 30th March.
Robin Singh and C.S. Sabeeth were the only two non-Indian Arrows players in the squad but both of them could only find a place on the bench as Desmond Bulpin stuck to the strike partnership of Jeje Lalpekhlua and Malswamfela.
Having scored one away goal in the first leg in Pune, Myanmar had the edge in this tie but they still needed to score in order to level the aggregate score.
They started brightly and created the better chances in the first half but the young Indian team did well to keep a clean sheet and midfielder Shilton D’Silva even had a couple of half chances.
Myanmar’s Serbian coach Milan Zivadinovic made a positive change at the interval by taking off defender Aung Hein Kyaw and bringing on striker Kyaw Ko Ko.
That turned out to be a brilliant move from Milan Zivadinovic as Ko Ko gave the hosts the lead in the 64th minute.
But the match to a dramatic turn a minute later when Ko Ko received his second yellow card and thus gave India the numerical advantage.
Bulpin introduced Robin Singh in place of Malswamfela and then in the last ten minutes C.S. Sabeeth replaced defender Inderpreet Singh as India went all out in search of the equalizer.
The all important goal came in the 90th minute through super sub Sabeeth and it was enough to take India through to the next round.