AFC Asian Cup: India just one victory away from creating history by qualifying for the knock-out stage
India will play Bahrain in the next matchAuthor : Sunaina
Sharjah, Jan 14: Indian football is just one victory away from creating history by winning the next match against Bahrain and qualify for the knock-out stage for the first time ever in the history. The Indian captain Sunil Chhetri is on top of his game and has led the team from front.
If India lose this match, their fate will be decided by the result of the match between United Arab Emirates(UAE) and Thailand. If UAE wins, India will get through to qualify for the knock-outs of the AFC Asian Cup.
India need to win or secure a draw to qualify for the knock-out stage for the first time. Chhetri is also set to equal his mentor and former captain Bhaichung Bhutia's record of highest appearances for the country at 107 each.
So far, India has faced Bahrain for seven times in international matches, in which Bahrain have won five games, while India secured only one win with one match ending in a draw.
Last time, they played against each other in 2011 in the same tournament, on January 14, 2011. India lost the match 5-2 and failed to qualify for the the next round.
Indian Football Head Coach Stephen Constantine said, "I've said it before that we can qualify from this group. That is our objective right now."
He added, "If we win, we don't have to worry about anyone else. So we'll focus on ourselves and see what happens from there."
So far, India have played magnificently and impressed everyone with their game. India might have lost to UAE 2-0 in their last match, but they played really well. In their opener, India thrashed Thailand 4-1.
Currently, India are 97th ranked in the FIFA World Rankings, while Bahrain standing on 113th position in the rankings.
If India qualify, so, it will be their maiden knock-out appearance in the tournament. In 1964 in Israel, India finished as runners-up in the Asian Cup, but that edition was played on the basis of round-robin.