Captain Sunil Chhetri led India to a 1-0 victory over Kyrgyz Republic in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup (third round) qualifier at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday, after which Stephen Constantine said ‘India deserved this.’
Speaking at the post match press conference Constantine said: “More than anyone else, India deserved this. Not only the boys who played out there, everyone in the back office, the fans, and the staff played their part to get this result. I believe, the entire nation deserved this.”
On paper India looked the stronger side being ranked 100 in FIFA world rankings whilst Kyrgyz Republic are ranked 132, but the Kyrgyz Republic gave them a hard time.
It was India’s seventh official international win on the trot, the victory sending them to the top of the Group A table, with 6 points from 2 wins.
Kyrgyz put the pressure on during the first 15 minutes, whilst India tried to find their feet. Jeje Lalpekhlua, Jackichand Singh and Chhetri all created chances thereafter but failed to find the net.
The second half started out brightly and the visitors had a golden chance to take the lead just minutes in. Murzaev and Lux held the ball up well and set up Israilov with a chance, but he missed the chance with a goal begging.
In the 69th minute, Chhetri collected the ball in his own half, ran through the defenders to pass the ball to Jeje who then played the captain back for him to score with a beautiful chip only for India’s leading goalscorer to give a perfect finish to the move.
Thereafter India held their nerves to claim all 3 crucial points.
India will now travel to Macau for their third match in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers on September 5, 2017.