Anwar Ali among scorers as India beat Hong Kong 4-0 in top group | Soccer News

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KOLKATA: Told to hang up his boots after a health issue, Anwar Ali’s persistence and optimism in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds paid off on Tuesday.
Thanks to goals from Anwar, Sunil Chhetri – he does it almost every other day – India’s Manvir Singh and Ishan Pandita capped off their historic AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign in style, sweeping a solid Hong Kong team 4-0 under heavy rain at Salt Lake Stadium.
Igor Stimac’s side exited their A game on a stormy night and started with a blitz as Anwar (2nd) and Chhetri (45th) put India ahead 2-0.
It was then a story of super substitutes since Manvir (85th) and Pandita (90 + 3rd) came off the bench to complete the rout and help India (nine points) at the top of group D with three victories in a row, ahead of Hong Kong (six).

The Blue Tigers took a 1-0 lead with 21-year-old centre-back Anwar scoring his first international goal four years after his career nearly ended due to health reasons.
The 2017 Under-17 World Cup star, whose career was put on hold after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), scored from a short Ashique Kuruniyan corner kick with his kick right in the upper skylight.
The versatile defender, playing alongside Sandesh Jhingan, not only made his presence felt in the backline but also delivered fluid movements up front.
The talismanic Chhetri doubled the lead just before the break with a free kick from 30 yards out to register his fourth goal of the tournament.
Jeakson Singh fired a brilliant free-kick as the skipper controlled it brilliantly with a deft first touch before calmly driving it home to score his 84th international strike which saw him level with Hungarian great Ferenc Puska in the table of the best international scorers of all time. .
He also entered the list of the top five international scorers.
The Indian icon is just two goals behind Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on the list of active players led by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (117).
Towards the end of the second half, it was Brandon Fernandes who initiated the move from the right and played a quick 1-2 with Roshan Singh before Manvir found the target.
On vocals, India attacks on the counter and a center from the right of Manvir is transformed by Pandita.
More than eight hours before their confrontation, the two teams confirmed their place in the Asian Cup final, thanks to Palestine’s 4-0 victory over the Philippines who were eliminated after finishing as the worst runners-up in the six groups.
Playing without any pressure, Stimac’s side made two bold changes by bringing Sahal Abdul Samad and Udanta Singh into the starting XI in place of Liston Colaco and Manvir.



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