Hangzhou [China], September 24 (ANI): The Indian men's football team progressed to the Round of 16 on Sunday after registering a draw 1-1 against Myanmar in the final match of Group A of the Asian Games. With four points from three games, India finished second in Group A. Despite having the same amount of points as India, Myanmar placed third in the standings in terms of goals scored (India had 3, while Myanmar had 2). With seven points, hosts China topped the group.
Sunil Chhetri (23') scored the goal for India while Yan Kyaw Htwe (74') opened the scoreline for Myanmar.
The Igor Stimac-managed Indian football team had earlier defeated Bangladesh 1-0 after losing 5-1 to China in the opener.
India will now face Group B runner-ups Saudi Arabia in the pre-quarterfinals on Thursday.
India and Myanmar started on the same note, fighting in the middle of the field as the game got underway. But as the match progressed, Myanmar increased the ante and started to put pressure on the Indian defence.
However, India was the first to score a goal in the 24th minute. Captain Sunil Chhetri took the opportunity and sent the ball past Myanmar goalkeeper Zin Nyi Nyi Aung.
After being stunned by the goal, Myanmar attempted to equalise by sending more players forward, but the Indian defence, which was anchored by seasoned center-back Sandesh Jinghan, held firm and averted any threat. India had a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first half.
Gurkirat Singh, a halftime substitution, and Rahim Ali each had two chances to double the advantage for the Indian men's football team early in the second half. Both, though, were stopped by the Myanmar custodian.
Following the goal, the Indian team defended deep and held out for a draw to progress to the knockout stages. (ANI)