Asian Cup Qualifiers: India to register a big win over Cambodia under the captaincy of Sunil Chhetri

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Kolkata. The Indian team will look to register a big win against low-ranked Cambodia on Wednesday in an effort to make it to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup finals for the fifth time. Under the captaincy of charismatic striker Sunil Chhetri, India will try to make a great start to their campaign. Chhetri will try to score his 80th goal in this match. Cristiano Ronaldo (117 goals in 188 matches) and Lionel Messi (86 goals in 162 matches) are scoring daily goals. None can be compared to these two but Chhetri will have a chance to overtake Messi in this tournament.

The Indian team is currently ranked 106th in the world rankings while Cambodia is 65 places below it at 171st. Apart from these two teams in Group D, Afghanistan (150) and Hong Kong (147) are included. In such Sunil Chhetri Will have chances to score goals. Chhetri is at the end of his career and qualifying for the Asian Cup will be special for the 37-year-old captain. Due to the withdrawal of China, the next Asian Cup will be held in late 2023 or 2024 and in such a situation, Chhetri can consider it as the ‘last fort’ of his illustrious career.

see also Sunil Chhetri said- I am playing my last match, if FIFA banned…

Chhetri clarified his intentions before his 126th match, saying, ‘I want to qualify. If I don’t stay there, my country will. Either I will see Udanta running while drinking beer or you will be drinking beer and I will run there.’ India’s performance was not favorable before the qualifying matches of this continental competition. He had to face defeat in all the 3 international friendly matches he played before. Afghanistan will take on Hong Kong in the first match of Group D from 4.30 pm, followed by India and Cambodia from 8.30 pm.

Not only this, in the meantime, they lost 1-2 to Indian Super League team ATK Mohun Bagan while they defeated I-League All Stars team 2-1 but Santosh Trophy runners-up Bengal held them to a 1-1 draw.

The Indian team won its last match at the international level more than 7 months ago when it defeated Nepal 3-0 in the final of the SAIF Championship on 16 October 2021. The recent results were extremely disappointing for the Igor Stimac-coached team. Chhetri has warned his teammates that if they do not perform well against Cambodia, then half the battle will be lost here.

Chhetri said, ‘We are playing the first match with them. If we don’t do well against Cambodia, it means you have lost half your battle. As of now, we are only thinking of Cambodia, watching as many videos as possible. Once we play this match, then we will think about Afghanistan. Of course, Afghanistan is also strong.

The biggest setback for coach Stimac in recent times has been the injury of Rahim Ali, who along with Chhetri started attacking the front line. As he started filling JJ Lalpekhula’s spot, he was ruled out due to a muscle strain. ATK Mohun Bagan forward Liston Colaso, Manveer Singh and Udanta Singh, who scored a hat-trick in the AFC Cup, could offer some options but Ali’s ball control and accurate passing is difficult to match. It will be interesting to see how Chhetri tackles this as he looks to qualify for the fifth Asian Cup.

Tags: AFC Asia Cup Qualifiers, Football, Indian football, Sports news, Sunil chhetri

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