India ready to seal Asian Cup berth with win over Macau
Bengaluru, Oct 10 (PTI) India will come out all guns blazing with an eye on the coveted AFC Asian Cup finals berth when they take on Macau in a qualifying round encounter, here tomorrow.
A win against Macau will ensure a place in the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, having last played the continental championship in 2011.
The 'Blue Tigers' are sitting pretty with nine points after they won all their three group games, beating Myanmar 1 -0, Kyrgyz Republic 1-0 and Macau 2-0. They are yet to concede a goal in the qualifiers.
A win tomorrow will also give coach Stephen Constantine an opportunity to play younger players in next two inconsequential games to expand players' pool for the team.
Knowing the significance of the match, the Indian boys know the type of football Macau play, but want to deal them with the respect they deserve.
Constantine would like his boys to play quick passes leaving opponents not much time to settle down, which they did in their last away game against Macau.
"We need to open them up. I think we were a bit static in the first half of our away game in Macau and it helped them. We cannot afford to repeat the same mistake," Constantine said.
Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Holicharan Narzary and Udanta Singh, will be itching to get behind Macau defenders, who didn't allow them any scoring opportunities in their last game.
Full-backs Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal would like to pepper the visitors box with crosses, which would cause plenty of problems for Macau defence.
Robin Singh and Jackichand Singh will be expecting Constantine gives them a chance as they were on the bench in their previous match.
It will be interesting to see if Constantine plays in- form striker Balwant Singh instead of Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Lyngdoh has played for Bengaluru FC.
India would be aiming for an early goal to more pressure and also prevent them from hitting on the counter.
"We need to be patient which we were not in the first half when we played away against Macau," Constantine said.
Macau haven't won a match since AFC Solidarity Cup last year and have lost their last four games without scoring a single goal.
The visitors started their campaign on slightly positive note as they lost narrowly 1-0 to Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek. They were routed by Myanmar 4-0 in their away game.
Captain Paulo Cheang Leong, the most-capped player for Macau, will look to pull the strings in midfield, alongside Edgar Teixeira.
Ranked 182nd in the world, Macau would like to take a cue from their last match against the 107th ranked India and make it tough for the home team to breach their defence