India vs Myanmar Preview: Blue Tigers take on new-look Lions
This will be Myanmar’s first match under new head coach Michael Feichtenbeiner.
India hosts Myanmar in their opening match of the Tri-Nation Friendly Tournament on Wednesday, 22 March. It’ll mark their first international match of 2023 and take place at the Khuman Lapak Stadium, Imphal. The India vs Myanmar match is one of the two international games that the Blue Tigers will face in the international window.
Playing their first home game in over eight months, India will aim to thrill the home crowd with some brilliant attacking football. But they can’t take a motivated Myanmar side lightly, doing which can see their party ruined in Imphal.
The Blue Tigers will be playing for the first time since September 2022, since their disappointing VFF Tri-series in Vietnam. With the ISL season now over, the players can focus on rediscovering their chemistry for the national team. For Igor Stimac, these games are more about testing out new strategies and giving minutes to newer players.
But that doesn’t mean India can take this lightly. The prospect of gaining FIFA points and jumping up the World Rankings is at stake. They’ll have to work hard on winning both games, starting with Myanmar. They face a team that hasn’t won a competitive game in over a year. Losing would be absolutely embarrassing and undo all the confidence built upon among the fanbase.
Even a draw would be underwhelming. It’s because of the heavy expectations on them to produce amazing attacking football and win the match that some players might be under pressure. But they’ll need to thrive under it because the stakes of potentially climbing the world rankings hang in the balance in this game.
Myanmar don’t really have much to lose in this one, as they’re facing a team well ahead of them in the FIFA rankings. That’s why they could operate more freely and use that unpredictability to their advantage. Not having won a game in over a year is disappointing for Myanmar and they hope to fix this in India.
They probably don’t have as much at stake as India, but the same prospect of gaining more FIFA points is also applicable to them. While losing won’t be the worst thing, a win can be absolutely huge to bolster their confidence in growing as a unit in 2023.
Injury & Team News
Sivasakthi Narayanan and Glan Martins had to withdraw from the India team despite being selected in the 23-man squad. Pritam Kotal and Naorem Mahesh Singh have replaced them, but both are unlikely to start this. It remains to be seen how many ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC players start after their grueling ISL final on Saturday.
Myanmar have named their best-possible 24-man squad for their two games in India.
India vs Myanmar Head-to-Head
India have met Myanmar five times in competitive games, with their last game happening in 2017. The Blue Tigers boast a pretty good record against them, having won three games.
Played – 5
India – 3
Myanmar – 1
Drawn – 1
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India vs Myanmar Predicted Lineups
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Naorem Roshan Singh, Anwar Ali, Rahul Bheke, Akash Mishra; Suresh Singh, Anirudh Thapa; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ritwik Das, Manvir Singh
Kyaw Pho (GK), Hein Win, Thiha Aung, Thahe Soe, Nanda Kyaw, Kyaw Min, Lwing Aung, Wai Aung, Lin Soe, Hain Aung, Aung Man
Player to Watch
Lallianzuala Chhangte (India)
The Tri-Nation football tournament is a huge opportunity for Lallianzuala Chhangte to prove himself to Igor Stimac. The winger was on fire for Mumbai City in the ISL, contributing 16 goals and scoring 10. He’s heading into the tournament in red-hot form and with a lot of expectations on his back. Chhangte will aim to prove his quality against Myanmar and be a menace in the frontline.
The 25-year-old is blessed with an admirable quality, having the ability to dance past defenders with his dribbling style. His close control, crossing ability and final product have all evolved this season. But he’ll need to hold his nerves and adjust to the playing style of the club level to the international level to thrive. Chhangte is a man high on confidence and will aim to spark up India’s game with his exciting style, getting into key areas to score and set up special goals.
Aung Mann (Myanmar)
The 25-year-old centre-forward is expected to spearhead Myanmar’s attack and will have to be at his prolific best against India. Considering that the visitors are not expected to dominate much of the possession, Mann will be tasked to take up whatever opportunities available. The Customs United striker scored five goals and provided two assists in 24 appearances in the Thai League 2 this season.
He’s a willy striker, having the smartness to sneak past defenders and get himself into key scoring areas. Mann possesses decent finishing ability and can slot a variety of shots to trouble goalkeepers. His link-up play and general movement are also good enough, and he’s also a hard worker that can make things uncomfortable for defenders. The 25-year-old will aim to force his way into chances and slot away whatever he can get, all while being a pain for the Indian backline.
Did you know?
- India almost suffered a loss to Myanmar in their last game, an AFC Asian Cup qualifier clash in 2017. Myanmar went 2-0 down in 19 minutes, before Sunil Chhetri and Jeje’s goals salvaged a draw.
- The India-Myanmar clash will mark the first time that the Khuman Lapak Stadium, Imphal holds a competitive international game.
- Myanmar’s last win in a competitive game was in December, 2021 – when they defeated Timor-Leste in an AFF Championship match.
The match between India and Myanmar will take place at the Khuman Lapak Stadium, Imphal on Wednesday, 22 March. The kick-off time is 6 PM IST. The game will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.
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