The Indian football team managed to eke out a 2-2 draw against a feisty Myanmar side in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier, at the Fatorda Stadium, on Tuesday.
The away side struck first in the opening minute, but India hammered one back via a penalty from captain Sunil Chhetri. Myanmar took the lead again ahead of half time.
However, Jeje Lalpekhlua equalised late into the match, to extend India's unbeaten streak to 13 matches. And in the dying minutes of the game, came the moment that was to became the biggest talking point.
India won an indirect free kick inside the Myanmar penalty box after the Burmese keeper Kyaw Zin Htet handled the ball in his own area, after a back-pass from one of his teammates.
Chhetri duely stepped up to the plate, and delivered the so-called winning goal. To the Dismay of all the Indian fans, however, the referee disallowed the goal.
In order for the goal to stand, the ball needed to be passed to the India captain, before he fired it in, as the hand-ball infringement inside the box was by the Myanmar keeper. However, Jeje Lalpekhlu, who was to lay it off for Chhetri, merely touched the ball, not making it move sufficiently. The rules state that the ball must move at least at least the length of its radius, in order for the dead-ball situation to stand.
India had plenty of chances to surge ahead towards the end of the match, but they failed to convert them. However, this match was more of a dead-rubber for them as they had already secured qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
India are set to face the Kyrgyz Republic in their last Asian Cup qualifier on March 27, next year. While the Blue Tigers are under no pressure as they have already qualified, they will be looking to extended their unbeaten streak to 14 matches against the Kyrgyz Republic.
While India had done well to make a comeback on two separate occasions in the match, they could have earned the victory, had a basic error not been made. Coach Stephen Constantine will surely be looking to iron-out such errors.Published 15 Nov 2017, 08:07 IST