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Yangon: Stephen Constantine was setting his sights on India’s next AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying match after his side made a winning start to their attempt book a berth at the continental championship with victory over Myanmar.

Sunil Chhetri scored the only goal in the dying seconds of the game as the Indians notched their first win in Yangon in 64 years, but the Englishman – in his second stint as India coach – was already looking forward.

“This win (against Myanmar) does not matter much,” said the 54-year-old. “We still have to take six points to be able to secure qualification to the finals of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

“India can defeat anybody on their day, but the job is still far from done. We have to stay focused and concentrate on the next game.”

India host Kyrgyz Republic in their next Group A qualifier on June 13 and will do so in a confident frame of mind after a win over Gerd Zeise’s side that saw India notch up their sixth win in a row across both competitive and friendly matches since June last year.

“Myanmar had several chances to score, but we showed great spirit on the field,” said Constantine (pictured above). “We never gave up mentally and that aided us in our win. We had three to four chances in the match, but we could only take the one in the end. It was a very tight game and the boys showed fantastic spirit to earn the win.

“Football is all about taking your chances. We took ours and they (Myanmar) did not take theirs. The credit goes to Myanmar for making it tough for us to play.” 

Zeise was left downbeat after the result, which was his side’s third defeat in their last four games, but despite the loss he saw encouraging signs from his team.

"We played well in this game but in the end, we were unlucky,’ said the German. “We had a lot of chances in second half. Although I was satisfied with our side's performance, I can't say I'm satisfied with this loss."

Myanmar will travel to Macau for their next game in June, with the AFC Solidarity Cup runners-up buoyed by a solid performance on Tuesday despite losing 1-0 to Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek.

“We lost concentration in the second half and conceded a goal,” said Macau coach Tam Iao San (pictured above). “Kyrgyz Republic are a very good team and I think they are leader of our group. I’m satisfied with my team's performance. They did a good job tonight.

“Kyrgyz Republic played quickly and we had problems because of it. They tried to pressure us a lot during the match and created many chances to score.

"It was good challenge for us and we want to play every game for the win. My team will try to improve from game to game.”

The result leaves Kyrgyz Republic tied at the summit of the group with India and the Central Asian side’s head coach, Aleksandr Krestinin was delighted with the three points after seeing his side dominate.

We played a different game - with long passes because of the pitch,” he said. “It was a very difficult win. Our target was to claim three points tonight.

“We had a problem to make use of our moments. Macau tried to play well in defence, they gave attention to their defensive activities. After the goal we played with good concentration.

“I haven’t watched the other teams’ game in our group, but I know India won over Myanmar. We will play against India in the second round. We are favourites. This is why Kyrgyz Republic will try to win that game too.”

Photos: AFP & AFC

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