With ISL just days away and having already qualified for the AFC Asian Cup Qualfiers 2019, there's not much but still too much to play for when India lock horns with Myanmar in the penultimate game of their qualifiers in Goa.
A great game can set the tempo for the upcoming fourth edition of the Indian Super League, which now has been extended for 4 months and to 10 teams. A 12-game unbeaten streak can be extended to one more game and the Men in Blue can see some hopes of improving in the FIFA rankings as well.
Despite already qualifying for the main event, Indians won’t take it easy as they know what Indian football is going through a revolutionary period and match after match things are improving. Not just this much, the Stephen Constantine’s side will be eager to stamp their authority over Myanmar, who troubled the rising Asian ‘giants’ when they had hosted India.
India qualified for the continental showpiece after crushing Macau 4-1, in a qualifier last month, and a point at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda would take them to the top position.
Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan have four points each, while Macau are placed at the bottom of the table without a point. Myanmar, having lost their home match against India 0-1 in Yangoon, have arrived here three days early to get used to the conditions, and a win tomorrow would keep them in the fray.
"India's defence is well organised and we need to play to our potential to win" said Myanmar coach Gerd Zeise.
India have done well under Constantine, including ending a 64-year wait against Myanmar by beating them 1-0 at home.
India's captain Sunil Chhetri, who scored the stoppage-time winner in the first-leg game, said the visitors are a compact side and cautioned his players against complacency.
"We were lucky to have come out victors after they dominated us for the major part of the match. Technically, they are a good side and run a lot especially on the flanks with good ball control.
"It is going to be an entertaining contest and there is no room for us to be complacent after having qualified for the Asian Cup 2019.”
India XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Narayan Das, Jakichand Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rowling Borges, Sunil Chhetri (C), Robin Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua
Myanmar XI: Thiha Si Thu (GK), Zaw Min Tun, David Htan, Yan Aung Kyaw (C), Tin Win Aung, Aung Thu, Kyaw Ko Ko, Yan Naing Oo, Phyo Ko Ko Thein, Si Thu Aung.