Myanmar pulled off one of the most remarkable wins in their recent history, earning their first in this year’s World Cup Qualifying campaign by beating Tajikistan 4-3 on home soil.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Suan Lam Mang got on the end of Muang Muang Lwin’s cross with a diving header at the far post before Tajikistan’s Manuchekr Dzhalilov re-established parity from the penalty spot shortly after the half-hour mark.
Lam Mang then struck again to put Myanmar in the lead in the 41st minute, giving the hosts a boost just before half time.
They carried that momentum into the second half too, with Muangthong United star Aung Thu rifling in a shot from the edge of the box to give the hosts a two-goal lead.
Despite being pegged back by a powerful header from Farkhod Vosiyev, the hosts struck a fourth courtesy of Maung Lwin. A second strike from Dzhalilov looked to set up an exciting finish, but the hosts managed to hold on and see out their first win of the qualifying campaign.
The biggest beneficiaries of this win are Japan, who likely see Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as their main rivals in the group. This result sends the East Asian giants six points clear, with the two Central Asian sides now tied on six points.
Goals from RB Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino and Hannover’s Genki Haraguchi struck in the 41st and 54th minutes to oversee Japan’s fourth consecutive group stage win in Bishkek. The Samurai Blues have now reached the half-way point of the campaign with a hundred-percent record and are yet to concede a goal.