AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: India thrash Macau 4-1 to qualify

Sunil Chhetri in action (Image credit- AIFF)

Bengaluru: India put up a dominating performance against Macau at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday as they beat them 4-1 to secure a place in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup scheduled to be played in the UAE.

Rowllin Borges (28th minute), skipper Sunil Chhetri (60th minute) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (90+1th minute) were the goal-scorer for India while the remaining one came as an own goal by a Macau defender in the 71st minute.

Thus, India for the fourth time in his footballing history has made it to the AFC Asian Cup tournament with the other three being in the years 1964, 1984, 2011 and now 2019.

Assisted by Jeje, Borges put India ahead in the 28th minute through a shot from outside the box after a few passes. The Macau goalkeeper was caught off guard as India, quite went ahead in the match.

But that joy was short-lived as Macau levelled the scores, much against all expectations in the 38th minute courtesy a beautiful header from an unmarked Nicholas Tarrao, who capitalised on a defensive error. The match headed into the interval with the scoreline being 1-1.

Tarrao thus netted Macau’s first goal in the qualifiers and as India conceded it’s first in the competition. Nonetheless, the brilliance of skipper Sunil Chhetri once again put India ahead in the 60th minute as he comfortably tapped the ball into the net after a cross was sent to him by Balwant Singh who was introduced into the game in place of Jackichand Singh.

Macau’s chances of making a comeback received a heavy blow as their own defender in an attempt to clear a cross looped the ball over the keeper to give India a 3-1 lead in the match.

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua netted the fourth for India in the extra time as Stephen Constantine’s men completed an emphatic victory at home.

This result also ensures that the Indian head coach can now test his younger players a chance as they travel to Kyrgyzstan and host Myanmar in a third round fixture. While the juniors at the U-17 are making the country proud by coming up with improved and spirited performances with every passing game, this magnificent win for the senior team only reinforces the belief that Indian football is heading into a bigger and a brighter future.

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