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AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualification (Third Round) – India vs Hong Kong: India finish on top of Group D after thrashing Hong Kong by a 4-0 scoreline

India finished the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualification as the Group D champions with nine points after thrashing Hong Kong by a 4-0 margin on Tuesday (14th June) night.

Even before the beginning of the game, India and Hong Kong both booked their spots for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 with already having six points each in this Group D competition. But, India finished the third round of this qualifier as the unbeaten side by winning all the three games of the Group D encounters.

India vs Hong Kong, India
Image Credit: AIFF Twitter

Salt Lake Stadium (Kolkata) hosted this last game of the Group D between India and Hong Kong, where the home fans once again showed brilliant spirit with their strong support.

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After Anwar Ali got the early goal for the hosts, Sunil Chhetri scored his 84th international goal just before the half-time. In the late second half, Manvir Singh and Ishan Pandita added one goal each in the team’s scoreline. It was India’s first win against Hong Kong in 29 years.

India vs Hong Kong: Playing XIs + Substitutions

India XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Akash Mishra,  Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Roshan Singh Naorem, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Suresh Singh Wangjam (Glan Martins 45’), Sahal Abdul Samad (Liston Colaco 60’), Ashique Kuruniyan (Ishan Pandita 82’), Sunil Chhetri (C) (Brandon Fernandes 76’), Udanta Singh Kumam (Manvir Singh 60’)

Hong Kong XI: Yapp Hung Fui; Sean Tse, Yu Wai Lim (Lau Hok Ming 78’), Law Tsz Chun, Huang Yang (C), Sun Ming Him (Jhangir Khan 54’), Matt Orr, Wong Wai, Fung Hing Wa, Wong Tsz Ho (Yu Jesse 78’), Ju Yingzhi (Chan Philip 54’)

India vs Hong Kong: Key Points

(1st Half)

India: Early goal set up the hosts’ momentum

In just the second minute of the game, Anwar Ali scored his first goal in the national team jersey. While the unsettled Hong Kong defence failed to clear the ball early, Anwar utilised the opportunity from close range to the goal as his shot hit on top of the net.

In the 27th minute of the game, India had a fantastic counter-attack. Sunil Chhetri missed to contact Roshan Singh Naorem’s delivery, but Sahal Abdul Samad had a powerful shot that only hit the post.

In the 44th minute, captain Sunil Chhetri made the scoreline 2-0 for the hosts. It was a superb finish from the skipper, who created an unmarked position for himself while the free-kick shot nicely followed him. Experienced Chhetri was calm to finish that properly as he equalled the Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas’ record of 84 international goals.   

Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri equalled Ferenc Puskas’ 84 international goals record, the fifth most goals in international football history (Image Credit: AIFF Twitter)

Hong Kong: Failed to take the chances of hosts’ sloppy defence; majorly lost the possessions too quickly

Indian defence was a little sloppy on the stormy and rainy night. The hosts were lucky enough that Hong Kong players were not in the right place at the right time. The visitors failed to make a strong finish which could put the hosts under pressure.

After conceding the early goal, Hong Kong majorly failed to hold their possessions. In short, nothing went right for the visitors on that hard night.

(2nd Half)

India: Just dominated

Image Credit: AIFF Twitter

Confident India had no hesitation in attacking the opposition box as the hosts dominated the second half without a major threat in their half.  

In the sixth minute of the second half, Sunil Chhetri had a great chance as only the Hong Kong goalkeeper remained to beat. His strong shot on-target was ultimately saved by the goalie.  

In the 85th minute, India scored 3-0 as Manvir Singh added a goal in his name. After Brandon Fernandes delivered a well-grounded cross inside the box, Hong Kong goalie Yapp Hung Fui failed to stop Manvir’s shot on target.

In the third minute of the stoppage time, Ishan Pandita scored his first goal for the national team with a brilliant finish. Manvir Singh delivered a good ball inside the box while Ishan’s one-touch flick superbly beat the opponent goalkeeper.

Despite some mistakes, the hosts’ defence also responded better in that second half.  

Hong Kong: Nothing much despite trying hard

Hong Kong tried hard in the second half, but they failed to frighten the hosts. They had a few more chances, but they couldn’t utilise those opportunities.  

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