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India Thrash Hong Kong 4-0, Qualify for AFC Asian Cup as Group Winners

For the primary time in historical past, the Indian males’s soccer crew e-book their place in back-to-back AFC Asian Cup editions and that too earlier than kicking a ball on the ultimate match day of their qualifier group.

The Blue Tigers have certified for the AFC Asian Cups in 2019, 2011, 1984, 1964 and now 2023.

But India head coach Igor Stimac determined to go all weapons blazing along with his crew choice, making solely two adjustments to the facet that obtained a 2-1 victory over Afghanistan. Last video games’ heroes – Sahal Abdul Samad and Udanta Singh in for Manvir Singh and Liston Colaco.

India vs Hong Kong Highlights AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers

It was Anwar Ali although, who struck within the opening minute of the evening after some terrific build-up play from the likes of Ashique Kuruniyan, Sahal and Udanta. They earned a nook, which pinged across the Hong Kong penalty field, just for Anwar to blast it residence for the lead.

At the 15th minute-mark, Yu Wai Lim and Huang Yang mixed to take out Udanta. After play resumed, Sahal despatched in a ball into the center for Ashique, who dinked it over the defence because the Hong Kong keeper rushed out to clear off Sunil Chhetri’s head.

It was absolutely Plan B for Hong Kong, as they began to put into their tackles. Huang Yang went into the referee’s e-book after he crashed into Udanta to cease a counter-attack.

In the 26th minute, Jeakson with some elegant ability to get previous three defenders, who saved lunging at his toes, and launched Roshan down the suitable.

His cross was missed as Sahal’s thunderous strike rattled the crossbar after Chhetri miss-timed his run. Ashique on the rebound blazed over.

The winds had been howling for a while after the beginning of the sport, however halfway via the rain adopted.

As India saved looking for the second, with the growing ferocity of tackles from the Hong Kong gamers, the heavens opened up.

In added time after the primary 45 minutes, Jeakson flighted a ball to the suitable fringe of the six-yard field, which Chhetri introduced down from the sky along with his proper foot and slotted it previous the keeper utilizing his left. India have been 2-Zero up because the followers, although taking shelter from the rain, have been delirious with pleasure. With that strike, Chhetri’s aim tally went as much as 84, levelling Hungary’s Ferenc Puskas.

India have been on the assault from the phrase go within the second half as Chhetri tried his luck from distance despite the fact that he was bearing down on aim. His shot was parried away for a nook. Then once more within the 58th minute, Chhetri’s pull again into the center was cleared solely so far as Glan Martins, who had come on instead of Suresh firstly of the half, blazed over.

As the sport dulled right into a mid-field stalemate, the followers cheered more durable from the stands. When a Chhetri was introduced off within the 76th minute, the roar from the gang drowned out the howl of the whistling winds.

In the 85th Manvir, who had been taking part in down the suitable for many of the event, discovered himself within the center because the ball Brandon Fernandes’ cross inched nearer. He didn’t make a mistake, slotting it residence previous the hapless keeper to provide India their third.

He was instrumental within the fourth too, speeding down the suitable to ship in a pin-point cross on the toes of Ishan Pandita, who made no mistake.

With the win, India clinched the highest spot of Group D, with 9 factors from three video games.

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