Myanmar rode on two first-half goals from Naw Phaw and Khin Moe Wai to edge past India in their Group D opening encounter of the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers at the Faisal Al Huseni Stadium, West Bank on Tuesday.
Naw Phaw and Khin Moe Wai scored first half goals for Myanmar in the 5th and 26th minute respectively, while Yee Yee Oo’s effort in the 27th minute hit the woodwork before India could settle down and get a feel of the artificial turf.
Receiving a cross from winger Khin Moe Wai, the Myanmar forward did well to escape her marker and place her shot into the roof of the net to score the first goal.
Striker Bala Devi had a golden opportunity to convert in the 22nd minute after being set up by former India captain Oinam Bembem Devi on top of the box, but the striker from Manipur failed to connect. Just when India looked to have found their rhythm which helped them beat Bahrain in two friendlies a week ago, Myanmar doubled the lead cashing in on the counter. Moe Wai converted Than Than Htwe’s spadework from close range.
India looked better after the break as they looked more at ease on the artificial turf and attacked with renewed vigour. In the opening exchanges of the second half, Myanmar – playing a high line in the first half – were forced to drop deep as the likes of Bembem Devi and Kamala Devi made frequent inroads into the final third.
Meanwhile Myanmar attacked in phases, mostly attempting to increase the cushion from set pieces. Goalscorer Naw Phaw was replaced by stopper Thida Oo in the 66th minute. They were literally defending in numbers switching from the initial 4-4-2 formation to a more defensive 5-4-1.
For India, Coach Anadi Barua made two changes. Pinky Bompal Magar replaced Bala Devi and Sasmita Mallick made way for Dangmei Grace. The match ended 2-0 in favour of Myanmar and leaves the Indian Eves with a mountain to climb to qualify from the group.
In the first match of the day, Chinese Taipei blanked hosts Palestine 6-0 in the Group’s curtain-raiser. Midfielder Lin Ya Han notched up a hattrick while Lin Kai Lin, Lai Li Chin and and Yu Hsiu Chin netted one a piece.
Roshni Devi – Tuli Goon [C], Ashalata Devi, Radharani Devi, Suprava Samal – Sasmita Mallick (Dangmei Grace), Premi Devi, Oinam Bembem Devi, Prameshwori Devi – Kamala Devi, Bala Devi (Pinky Bompal Magar)
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)