AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, India vs Hong Kong preview: Blue Tigers eye top spot and history

 

Indian men’s football team have a lot to achieve as they take on Hong Kong in the final match of the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.

After qualifying for back-to-back editions of the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in their history, the Blue Tigers will not be backing down in their fight against Hong Kong in their summit clash of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.

However, Igor Stimac’s side who have won both their encounters so far would be looking for a clean sweep when they take on Hong Kong who as things stand top Group D on the basis of superior goal difference.

India would settle for nothing less than three points which would guarantee them top spot in the group, a pre-tournament target given their superior FIFA ranking.

With the fans expected to make it a spectacle against at the Salt Lake stadium, there is even more motivation for the Indian team to end on a happy note in Kolkata and celebrate their AFC Asian Cup qualification with the fans.

Sunil Chhetri who has already scored three goals in the third round of the qualifiers will look for his 84th international goal that will tie him with Hungarian goalscoring legend Ferenc Puskas in the chart for the all-time leading international goalscorers.

FIFA ranking

India: 106

Hong Kong: 147

Form Guide:

India: LLLWW

The Blue Tigers will be feeling a lot better about themselves after winning the first two group matches of the third round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers and will look to make it three wins out of three in Kolkata

Hong Kong: LLLWW

Hong Kong who come into the game in an identical form as the hosts would love to get one over their higher-ranked rivals and defy the FIFA charts to finish the group in top spot. Hong Kong have been in excellent form in the first two matches and would feel confident of getting a result in the next match.

Head-to-Head

In the last fifteen international meetings, India have won seven while Hong Kong managed to win four, and the rest have ended in a draws.

However, India has lost its last two meetings against Hong Kong, losing 1-2 in 2009 and 0-1 in 2010.

AFC Asian Cup qualifiers: All you need to know about Hong Kong, India's opponents in the third-round group

Key battles

Yapp Hung Fai vs Indian attack: Hong Kong’s most experienced squad member, their goalkeeper is likely to be the most important player for Hong Kong against India on Tuesday. Indian attack has slowly grown in stature in the last two matches and with the pressure of qualification now pretty much off, the Indian forwards could further flourish. Fai will thus need to have a solid game in goal for Hong Kong.

Matthew Elliott Orr Wing Kai vs Anwar Ali: The striker of New Zealand descent is Hong Kong’s chief goal threat and has scored in both matches so far. He also has a very good scoring record in the Hong Kong Premier League. Young and robust, the striker would need stopping and who else apart from Anwar Ali has the attributes to come up trumps in this duel. The FC Goa centre-back has been one of the best players for his team in the qualifiers and would need to continue that form against Kai.

Huang Yang vs Sahal Abdul Samad:  Yang, the Hong Kong skipper is responsible for thwarting opponent attacks at the outset. A defensive midfielder by trade, Yang is a vital member of the Hong Kong defensive setup that aim to keep India at bay on Tuesday. He is likely to come up against Sahal Abdul Samad who netted the winner against Afghanistan on Saturday. Yang is set to have his hands full while dealing with the mazy attacking midfielder and this duel could be crucial in the final outcome of the match.

Match Details

Fixture: India vs Afghanistan

Date: June 11, 2022

Time: 8:30 PM (IST)

Venue: Salt Lake stadium, Kolkata

Telecast: Star Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar, and Jio TV

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