1964, 1984, 2011 and now 2019. Rowlin Borges, Sunil Chettri and Jeje have ensured that India make their fourth apperance on the AFC Asian Cup finals. But for the hero for India in this match is undoubtedly Balwant Singh. The 30-year-old turned the game on its head after coming on in the second by providing the second goal for Chettri. He got in behind the Macau defence numerous times stretching and tearing it apart towards the end. India still have to travel to Kyrgyzstan and host Myanmar in the third round but Stephen Constantine can now experiment with his team.
2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifier, India vs Macau Match highlights:
FULL TIME! India beat Macau 4-1, qualify for AFC Asian Cup 2019
91′ GOAL! Jeje gets his goal. Chettri puts it in from the left, the keeper is completely caught out and Jeje turns it into a practically empty net
87′ Narzary Singh darts through the centre passes it to Chettri who makes the perfect touch to direct the ball to Jeje before getting inside the box, Jeje makes space and takes the shot and misses the post by inches. Chettri went down in the box but the referee only points for goal kick
79′ Balwant Singh then gets a chance to make it 4-1, He gets the ball right side of the box, cuts in and takes the shot, it is over the bar
78′ India are cruising now, Macau had a chance when their goalscorer made his way into the box largely due to rather lazy defending from India, his shot is straight at Sandhu.
71′ GOAL! That is a rather strange one. Holicharan Narzary with a ball just dinked above the ground into the box, a Macau defender tries to clear it, the ball ricochets off his feet and it balloons up into the air before landing in goal behind him. A bizarre goal but one that all but guarantees India’s qualification to the AFC Asian Cup 2019
64′ Balwant Singh almost scores again and then crosses the ball into the box to give India a third chance in under two minutes. He was brought on for Jackichand Singh at half time and what a substitution that is turning out to be
60′ GOAL!! Sunil Chettri scores! But credit also has to go to Balwant Singh. India break and Balwant gets the ball, turns away from a geen shirt near the half way line and darts forward, all of a sudden its two against one as Balwant has Sunil in the box to provide the ball to. The keeper and the defender are torn between the two and Balwant provides an inch perfect pass to Chettri. The Indian captain scores as the keeper scrambled to get back into position. He pointed straightaway to Balwant, acknowledging the 30-year-old
55′ Ohh that was a chance, India win a corner and it swung in, Sandesh Jhingan meets it with the head and the Macau goalkeeper saves it with the tip of his fingers
46′ Jackichand Singh has been taken off for Balwant Singh at half time. Anas Edathodika then needing some attention and jogs off the field
HALF TIME: India 1-1 Macau, Like their juniors in the U-17 World Cup, India can be accused of being wasteful. Unlike their juniors though, this is an experienced bunch of players and one can’t be blamed for expecting them to score from some of the positions they have got to. Macau, on the other hand, have executed their game plan with perfection. They have sat deep and defended and the one good chance they had, they converted. All sets up a rather interesting second half.
38′ A flurry of attacks from India after going behind but none of them come to anything as Macau put nearly all their players in the box
37′ GOAL! Nicholas Tarrao heads in a perfect cross and Macau equalise! Now who would have though this was possible
27′ GOAL! Rowlinn Borges is the man who gives India the lead! Borges takes the shot from just outside the box after India throw in a couple of passes in front of goal. The keeper was caught off guard and India finally in the lead. They have been knocking the door for sometime now.
19′ Sunil Chettri receives the ball and tries to make way into the box, is fouled in the process. The dead ball is just a few feet away from the box and Chettri takes it, and it goes over the bar. Still goalless in Bangalore
17′ India break as Sandhu releases the ball to Jackichand who drives forward up the right flank and crosses it in, the ball goes straight to the keeper. Jackichand’s crosses haven’t of much help to India so far
15′ Macau have stopped staying away from the ball altogether and even force a free kick just in front of the midfield circle. The ball is now travelling slower because of the rainwater collected in the pitch. Despite the distance, the free kick is directed at goal and soars over the cross bar
10′ Jackichand Singh sends in a cross looking for Chettri, a Macau defender gets to it before the latter does. Meanwhile, its pouring now in Bangalore
3′ Sunil Chettri plays a one-two with Jeje and is into the box, bounces the ball off a defender and that affects his shot that is cleared away by the Macau goalkeeper. India attacking and Macau parking a green bus in front of them
KICK OFF: India take the first kick, wearing their home blue and attacking from right to left, Macau wearing green
1921 hrs IST: The teams walk out, Sunil Chettri leads India out, Cheang Cheng Ieong is the man with the armband for Macau
1906 hrs IST: Coach Stephen Constantine says that India will be going direct and get as much balls into the box to score a goal. No Udanta Singh and in place of him plays Jackichand. Udanta was one of the fastest players on the pitch but Jackichand certainly has the knack for scoring goals. It is clear that we can expect India to go all out attack in this match until they get a good lead.
1841 hrs IST: This is how India line up:
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) 11 October 2017
1840 hrs IST:
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) 11 October 2017
1822 hrs IST: The past two weeks has been one of those few rare periods when cricket took a backseat in Indian sport. What was even more unique about the past fortnight has been that it has been football that has taken up that vacant front seat. The sport, at least its domestic form, has been shrouded in darkness for decades. But the recent rise of the Indian football team and their juniors’ heroics in the FIFA u-17 World Cup has confirmed the fact that India is hungry for the beautiful game.
There has been calls for the senior side to start taking on tougher opponents i.e., those ranked between the 50th and 90th spot in the FIFA rankings. That is exactly what they may need to do to prepare for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals, in which they may face the likes of Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and so on. But before that, they need to do what they have been doing so far in this third round, shut out Macau and beat them fair and square.