Favourites India inches away from AFC Asian Cup qualification

Favourites India inches away from AFC Asian Cup qualification

Rowllin Borges, Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua scored for the Indians while Macau struck though Nicholas Tarrao.

India had thrashed Macau 4-1 in a Group A encounter which helped India to qualify for the Asian Cup for the fourth time. This is India's fourth qualification after 1964, 1984 and 2011.

Macau lost both of its first leg matches against Kyrgyzstan (0-1) and Myanmar (0-4) and is due to play the second legs on November 14 and March 27, 2018, respectively.

"In the 2011 edition, we faced Bahrain, Australia and South Korea".

The men in blue sit at the top of their group with 12 points, having scored eight goals and conceding only one.

For his goal, Borges fooled the visitors' goalkeeper after he received a pass from Jeje, who had the presence of mind to spot him.

Constantine went on to praise the work done by Balwant Singh, whose introduction at half-time swung the game in India's favour with him supplying the assist to Chhetri's goal which restored India's lead. Holicharan Narzary had moved on the right wing, while Chetri played on the left.

The goal was set up by Chan Chun, who found space on the right and sent in a attractive cross.

Balwant clearly had an impact on the game as his clever running of the channels had the Macanese defenders scampering all over and India started to find a lot of space. Jeje took it in near the halfway line and sent Balwant clear. The substitute raced forward before squaring the ball into the box for Chetri.

On the second occasion, before Chetri could capitalise on a ball of a defender's foot, Ho Fai smothered it. His attempted clearance ended in a disaster for his side as the ball looped over the goalkeeper off his knee and landed in the back of the net. Earlier, they had beaten Myanmar 1-0, Kyrgyz Republic 1-0 and Macau 2-0.

The hosts continued to apply the pressure which led to Macau conceding the third goal.

"I was there when we missed out in 2015 and that still hurts me", Chhetri said after the match. "Amazing feeling. We have worked hard for this". We need to play big teams like them and that is what makes this qualification special.

Asia Cup is scheduled to take place in 2019 and India have 2 long years at their bay to prepare for the elite competition which will feature the best of Asian sides.

"I just hope we continue to qualify for every edition", Chhetri expressed. Till then it was mostly one-way traffic - in pouring rain - as Macau battled hard to keep the Indians at bay.

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