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India face Macau with eye on Asian Cup 2019 berth

12 Octobre 2017

The two national teams were tied 1-1 at half-time - a strong start for the local underdogs - after goals by India's Rowllin Borges and Macau's Nicholas Torrão.

India had thrashed Macau 4-1 in a Group A encounter which helped India to qualify for the Asian Cup for the fourth time. India then qualified for the tournament only in 2011. The win made India's final two matches against Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan a mere formality.

Even if India lose their remaining two matches, they will still finish among the top two spots in the group which will be enough to book their tickets to the United Arab Emirates for the 2019 edition of Asian football's showpiece event. The goal they conceded in Bengaluru was also the first that they had conceded in the third round so far.

After last night's victory, India has guaranteed its ascension into the AFC Asian Cup Finals competition, standing on a total of 12 points, the maximum possible given the number of games thus far played. The move was initiated by Narayan Das from the left wing with a low cross that Jeje, at first, tried to backheel into the goal.

Chhetri, who scored his 55th global goal tonight, stated that a lot of work to be done before approaching the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. Tarrao was left unmarked in the area as a cross was floated in from the right flank.

The goal was set up by Chan Chun, who found space on the right and sent in a lovely cross. However, before the Indian skipper could capitalise with the ball at his feet in the box, Macau goalkeeper Ho Fai smothered it. Then Jeje, from near the halfway line, found Balwant. 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.

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India come into this match on a 11-match unbeaten streak and have recorded 1-0 victories against Myanmar and Kyrgyz Republic.

India kept creating chances as they searched for the opening goal.

"I was there when we missed out in 2015 and that still hurts me", Chhetri said after the match. The gap of 27 years is the longest any team have had in tournament history.

"We have to play more games now to get prepared".

Chetri lauded his teammates for their performance. "We have done our work to correct the mistakes from that game, not just in the attack but as a whole", said the Bengaluru FC forward who will lead the side out onto his stomping grounds. "We will keep improving now and put our heads down and grind hard".

India face Macau with eye on Asian Cup 2019 berth