AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers: Myanmar vs Kyrgyzstan match result can give India a chance for early qualification
What's the story?
Well! If I say that the results of one sport can depend on another, all of you would say that I'm out of my mind. But, it almost did. Almost!! Yes, this 'one in itself' feat would have happened in India. The fourth round of 2019 AFC Asian cup is scheduled to take place on 10th October. All the teams play their respective qualifiers that day, except India and Macau.
In case you didn't know...
FIFA and all its associates chunk out dates well beforehand for qualifiers. But India chose to host its match against Macau on 11th October. The reason? Well, it turns out, India has a T20 match against Australia scheduled on October 10th in Guwahati. The broadcasters didn't want both to clash, so the India vs Macau qualifier was postponed by a day, as you cannot mess with cricket in India. This decision can be termed logical, as ultimate losers of TRP's would have been football only.
The heart of the matter
By playing a day later, India would have known its fate, whether it can qualify by beating Macau or had to wait further. But international politics played the spoilsport in this 'one in itself' event. The previous round of qualifiers had seen Kyrgyzstan vs Myanmar match being postponed as Kyrgyzstan government had security concerns and advised its football federation against hosting the match which, along with AFC, duly obliged.
So the 'advantage' is now gone as the information will be levelled, all the group A teams will be on 3 matches before India's game. Somebody has rightly said, "you cannot get more than you deserve from fate". No opponent should be taken lightly, but it's highly unlikely that India will slip up against 182nd placed Macau, having already beaten them 2-0 away. So we can expect India to reach 12 points at home.
Had the previous match not been postponed, the only outcome which would have prevented India from an early celebration, in case it won against Macau, was one match apiece to both Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar in third and fourth rounds. Even this scenario meant that India needed to win against Macau and even a draw in last two matches would seal the deal.
The best scenario for India would be a draw between Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan on 10th October so that a win a day later will seal their fourth qualification for AFC Asian Cup. Early qualification means India can try out few more combinations and few more months for preparedness keeping the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in mind.
India is firmly on the driver's seat in group A. Whatever be the outcome on 10th October, it should try to hit bull's eye against Macau. A slip-up here could lead Group A down to the wire. India already has its fate in its own hands, needing a win and a draw from the remaining three matches to be sure of qualification, and a win against Macau will consolidate it further. So for everything to go well, India needs to win on the 11th, and with some luck, this win can become an even bigger celebration time for Indian fans and players.