AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: India got big win over Hong Kong by 4-0



On June 14, the Indian men’s football team defeated Hong Kong by 4-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in their third and final Group D encounter of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round.

Anwar Ali (1′) scored India’s first goal, while captain Sunil Chhetri (45′) scored on the half-hour mark. Manvir Singh (84′) and Ishan Pandita (91′) added goals to make it India’s best win under coach Igor Stimac, who has led the squad since 2019.

India secured 106th rank in FIFA rankings

With this triumph, India, ranked 106th in the FIFA rankings, surpassed Hong Kong for first place in Group D with nine points. With six points from three games, Hong Kong, ranked 147th, finished second.

Both qualified for Asia Cup 2023 before the final match

Both India and Hong Kong had already qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 heading into the fixture.

In the third round of qualifying, 24 teams competed for 11 slots. The teams were split into six groups of four, with the group winners and five best runners-up qualifying for the Asian Cup next year.

Took only 56 sec to come on the top of the list

Group D hosts India, who started the match in second position in Group D due to a lower goal difference than Hong Kong, took just 56 seconds to get themselves on the scoresheet.

Anwar Ali opened for all

After Ashique Kuruniyan’s shot was stopped, Anwar Ali pounced on the rebound. The teenage defender neatly lifted the ball from the centre of the box over the Hong Kong goalkeeper, allowing the floodgates to open.

Jeakson Singh’s free-kick found Sunil Chhetri, who handled the ball effectively and beat the goalkeeper to his right in the 44th minute. It was Sunil Chhetri’s 84th international goal, tying him with Hungary’s iconic Ferenc Puskas.

In the 84th minute, Brandon Fernandes and Roshan Singh combined well to provide Manvir Singh a chance to score. Manvir Singh placed the ball to the right of the goalkeeper to make it 3-0 for India.

Manvir Singh turned provider for Ishan Pandita for India’s fourth goal in added time with a clean cross.

India reached AFC Asia Cup for the fifth time in history

India will compete in the AFC Asian Cup for the fifth time in 2023. India has previously competed in the continental competition four times: in 1964, 1984, 2011, and 2019. The team’s highest achievement was a second-place finish in their inaugural season in 1964.

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