Sunil Chhetri & Co Crush Macau 4-1 as India Qualify for AFC Asian Cup 2019
India sealed a place in the 2019 Asian Cup following their emphatic 4-1 win over Macau in their fourth qualification game of the campaign at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Bengaluru: India sealed a place in the 2019 Asian Cup following their emphatic 4-1 win over Macau in their fourth qualification game of the campaign at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
This is the fourth time that India have made it into the Asian Cup, having earlier played in 1964 (finished runners-up), 1984 (finished last in their group) and 2011 (finished last in the group) editions of the tournament.
Rowllin Borges, Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpheklua got on the score-sheet for India while a Macau own goal added insult to the visitors’ injury as the ‘Blue Tigers’ romped home to their fourth win in as many qualifying matches.
With this win, India have kept their stunning winning streak going as before this clash, they had already beaten Myanmar 1 -0, Kyrgyz Republic 1-0 and Macau 2-0 in the first three matches. India have made the cut for UAE 2019 with two matches still left to be played.
The hosts started the match on the front-foot, with Sandesh Jhigan hitting the ball over the cross bar in just the second minute of the game. But from their on it was all even stevens, as rain lashed out hard and made it difficult for both sets of players.
India finally broke the deadlock in the 28th minute of the game, when Borges’ shot took a huge deflection and went inside the Macau goal, giving no chance to the goal-keeper.
But the visitors hit back straight away as in the 37th minute of the game, Macau number 10 Nicholas Tarrao headed home the equaliser from a perfect cross. The match went into the break locked at 1-1.
But things changed drastically in the second half and it was down to an inspired substitution from India Coach Stephen Constantine. Balwant Singh came on in place of Jackichand Singh and turned the match on its head.
He kept terrorising the defenders since coming on but the game-changing moment came in the 60th minute of the match when he slipped a perfect cross for India skipper Sunil Chettri, who slotted home the hosts’ second goal of the day.
In the 70th minute, an own goal from Narzary’s cross gave India 3-1 lead and place went berserk. But Indian strikers didn’t stop there as Jeje put the icing on the cake in the 92nd minute by scoring from a low cross by Chhetri.
India sit pretty at the top of Group A qualifying round with 12 points from four matches. The Blue Tigers play Myanmar on November 24 and Kyrgyzstan on March 27 next year.
India’s starting XI against Macau: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika (77′ – Salam Ranjan Singh), Sandesh Jhingan, Narayan Das; Jackichand Singh (45′ – Balwant Singh), Rowllin Borges (65′ – Md. Rafique), Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Halicharan Narzary, Sunil Chhetri (C), Jeje Lalpekhlua