All India Football Federation logo
All India Football Federation logo

AFC Olympic Qualifiers: Indian eves to battle against Myanmar

ANI | Updated: Apr 08, 2019 20:12 IST

Mandalay [Myanmar], Apr 8 (ANI): On the verge of securing qualification in the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 with only Myanmar standing in its way, Indian senior women’s national team will battle against the host in the decider on April 9.
The match will kick-off at 2:30 pm (IST). The Maymol Rocky-coached team India secured qualification in the Round 1 in Myanmar in November 2018.
“We know it’s a must-win match for us. That’s it. This is the big moment that we’ve all been waiting for when we started our preparation in December last year for the Round 2 qualifiers, and we aim to make it count,” Maymol said.
Only a win for India will take it through to the next round of qualifiers, with just one team progressing from the Group A of Round 2 AFC Olympic Qualifiers.
Although both teams have six points each, Myanmar have a goal difference of +8, as compared to +4 of India in the two matches played so far, which means it is a do-or-die battle for India.
“We’ve always taken one match at a time. We’ll do so against Myanmar too. We’re aware of the quality they possess. We’ll have to be on the top of our game if we’re to secure qualification. We know what is at stake. The next 90 minutes have the power to define women’s football back in India,” the head coach said.
“We knew this moment would come when the groups for the Round 2 Qualifiers were announced. We knew this would boil down to this – India against Myanmar. In all our 14 international matches we’ve prepared to keep this scenario somewhere at the back of our minds,” Maymol said.
Rival Head Coach Win Thu Moe of Myanmar also lauded the Indian team.
“India are very tough opponents. We played them in Hero Gold Cup, and they were difficult to break down. It’s always hard to play against them and we know this moment would come where on April 9 we’ll be fighting it out as to who goes through,” Moe said.
History seems to favour Myanmar as the last two encounters have ended both in Myanmar’s favour, with Win Thu Moe’s team winning 2-1 in Olympic Qualifiers Round 1 in November 2018, and 2-0 in the Hero Gold Cup held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
“We know how Myanmar will play. We’ve had sessions focused on dissecting them. We’re ready for them. The match is all about who wants it more. The last matches played against Myanmar were very close. We could have won them had we take our chances. This time around we’ll make sure to capitalize on every mistake of the opponent,” Indian striker Dangemi Grace said.
Ratanbala Devi said: “These 90 minutes are the most crucial. We’ll make sure we leave no stone unturned in giving our cent-per cent. We’ve been preparing for this very moment, and aim to make it count.”
“We’ve already shown in all our matches that we’re capable of putting immense pressure on our rivals. If we can score early, then we will have the advantage,” defender Sweety Devi said.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan has been ruled out of the clash following an injury.
“Not having Aditi between the sticks is obviously a loss for us, but I’m happy the way Linthoi Devi has performed in the matches against Indonesia and Nepal,” Maymol said. (ANI)

iocl