India lose 0-1 to Myanmar, Challenge Cup berth uncertain
Yangon (Myanmar): The Indian football team today suffered a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Myanmar in its last league match of the qualifying event of the AFC Challenge Cup here, which put the country`s chances of advancing to the final round of the tournament in a difficult position.
Home side substitute Soe Min Oo scored the only goal of the match in the 75th minute.
With today`s loss, India ended the tournament on second position with six points from two wins -- against Chinese Taipei (2-1) and Guam (4-0).
Myanmar qualified for the final round of the AFC Challenge Cup, to be held next year in Maldives, after emerging as Group A toppers with seven points from two wins and a draw.
The qualifying round of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup was divided into five groups to be played in a centralised venue. The five group toppers and two best second-place teams will join hosts Maldives in the final round next year.
Thus, India still have a chance to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup final round. They will have to wait till the end of this month, when all the qualifying round group matches are completed.
The Group B and Group E qualifying round matches will be held at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Manila (Philippines) later this month while the Group A, C and D matches were being played simultaneously.
For a side that won the 2008 edition of the AFC Challenge Cup to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup, the loss against the 164th ranked nation was nothing less than a sort of humiliation for the 167th ranked India.
Wim Koevermans` boys were no doubt the favourites to top the group and they were on course after beating Chinese Taipei and Guam. Myanmar were struggling and they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chinese Taipei, but they played their best match against India when it mattered most, to qualify for the final round.