India will take on Afghanistan with increased confidence, Chhetri is close to a special achievement
Goal machine Sunil Chhetri will be eyeing another goal to break into the top 10 list of world’s highest goalscorers when the Indian football team takes on Afghanistan in the World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers here on Tuesday. After Oman’s 2-1 win over Afghanistan on Friday, India now need only a draw in this match to reach the third round of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
If Chhetri scores a hat-trick in the match, he will match the great Pele in the list of highest international goalscorers. Chhetri needs only one goal to be included in the list of highest goalscorers, which he can easily achieve against Afghanistan. India, under Chhetri, defeated Bangladesh in their previous match to end their long-awaited victory in international football. Chhetri scored two goals in this match.
After this, all eyes are on this charismatic footballer of India, who has surpassed Lionel Messi to reach the second place among active footballers with the most goals. The thirty-six-year-old Chhetri has scored 74 goals so far and will leave no stone unturned to add more goals in the next match. If the Indian team avoids defeat in the next match, it will end the campaign by finishing third in the group. This will be a better result than last time’s fifth place.
India is already out of World Cup qualifying and is eyeing a place in the Asian Cup to be held in China in 2023. The Indian team will enter this match as a strong contender for increased confidence and victory. The victory against Bangladesh has boosted the morale of the Igor Stimac-coached team. India dominated that match from start to finish.
If India wants to repeat their performance, then Chhetri and Manveer Singh in the front row and Brandon Fernandes in the middle line will have to show a good game. Stimac has great faith in Fernandes who has established himself as the best playmaker in the country. He helped India in three of the five goals scored in the qualifying round. Both form and past record are in India’s favor and they will not be satisfied with less than a win.
As far as Afghanistan is concerned, they will try to draw inspiration from the last match against India which went goalless. The loss to Oman has determined that Afghanistan will miss out on the top four teams of the World Cup Qualifiers and will advance to the playoffs for a place in the third round of the Asian Qualifiers if they fail to register a win against India. The match will start at 7.30 pm Indian time.
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