Sunil Chhetri takes center stage again as India take on Afghanistan | Soccer News



KOLKATA: The inspirational Sunil Chhetri would look to continue where he left against Cambodia as India take on Afghanistan in their second game of Asian Cup qualifiers on Saturday.
On an evening of missed chances, the 37-year-old veteran scored a goal in each half to give Igor Stimac’s side all three points, ensuring the group hosts stay ahead over Hong Kong on goal difference after Jorn Andersen’s side won 2-1 over Afghanistan in the opener on Wednesday.
Seeking to make a second consecutive Asian Cup final, Chhetri-led India would be looking to give their best, especially up front with Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan and Roshan Singh in hopes of improve their finishing abilities. .

All had plenty of chances but failed to make an impact scoring-wise and it was again left to the veteran to calm nerves with his brace that took his international tally to 82 goals, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (117) and Lionel Messi (86).
“I’m tired of answering that question,” Stimac said when asked about life after Chhetri.
“When he’s (Sunil) with us, I don’t care if the others don’t score. If he’s not there, the others will start scoring. Why look for someone else when he scores two goals per day ?” He asked.

From the Afghan’s perspective, it will be a do or die game and the physically stronger side would be looking to make him count against the Indian backline of Roshan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali and Akash Mishra, who most impressed upon their release. against Cambodia.
In such a scenario, it would fall to the attacking team to “kill the competition” by scoring early goals, which buried Afghanistan against Hong Kong.
Roshan’s fitness was a concern after their outing against Cambodia and Stimac said they would assess his issue on the sidelines of their training.
“Of course this game will be a lot tougher. There are a lot of quality moves against Hong Kong. They kept changing positions and made a lot of crosses into the box.
“We have to be smart and very good in attack. We have to win more aerial duels. We have to concentrate well, stay calm. I have full confidence in a win,” added Stimac.
India, who enjoy a 6-1 head-to-head record in 10 encounters against the “Lions of Khorasan”, however, have not won against them since January 3, 2016 at the SAFF Championships.
Since then, the Blue Tigers have suffered two 1-1 draws in the World Cup qualifiers, which was highlighted by Afghan coach Anoush Dastgir, who said they were looking for ‘revenge’ in the matches. playoffs.
About their loss to Hong Kong, he said: “in the first few minutes we committed suicide, it was very difficult to come back.”
But, given their outing against Hong Kong, Dastgir’s side rarely threatened to disallow captain Farshad Noor’s goal in the 81st minute, which squeezed their margin.
The key to their attacks will lie with Faysal Shayesteh who is just one goal away from becoming Afghanistan’s all-time top scorer.


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