2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: India vs Kyrgyz Republic - Know Your Opponents
A closer look at India's fellow AFC Cup qualifiers Kyrgyz Republic from Central Asia
Indian national football team has flown to the Kyrgyz Republic to take on the Central Asian nation in the final match of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers. The two teams were drawn in the Group A of the third round of the qualifiers for the Asian Cup and have secured qualification triumphing over Myanmar and Macau.
The Kyrgyz Republic side created history just three days ago as they sealed their qualification for the Asian Cup 2019 with a thumping 5-1 win over Myanmar at the Incheon Football Stadium in South Korea. This was the first successful qualification for the former Soviet Union nation after seven attempts.
The Ak şumkarlar, or The White Falcons, as they are known, have won three of their five matches so far, losing just once to India at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium back in June 2017 when a Sunil Chhetri strike secured the win for the Blue Tigers.
They are currently ranked 115th in the FIFA Rankings, sixteen places behind their opponents India and have broken into the Top 100 for the first time back in October 2016.
The Kyrgyz Republic side had played three times in the now-defunct AFC Challenge Cup with their best finish coming in the inaugural edition in Bangladesh as they finished in the third position. They went only as far as the group stage in 2010 and 2014.
Kyrgyzstan has faced India four times so far with just one win and three losses giving the Indian side the historical edge going into the final group game. Kyrgyzstan coach Aleksandr Krestinin would hope his side carry the momentum from the performance against Myanmar into the game.
The Falcons have Islam Shamshiev and Anton Zemlyanukhin in the attack who came through against Myanmar in the 5-1 win. Experienced defender Azamat Baymatov will lead the side and marshall the backline against the dangerous Indian attack. Mirlan Murzaev, the major threat for the Kyrgyzstan side will be expected to shine to secure the top spot in the group with a win.
The Kyrgyz Republic side gave a tough fight to India when they played in Bengaluru and a moment of brilliance from Sunil Chhetri got the win for India. His absence and the home advantage for the Falcons could turn the tie in their favour. Constantine's men have their work cut out when they take to the field on March 27 in Bishek.