Asian Cup | India trounce Laos to make it through to third round of qualifiers

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© AIFF Media

Asian Cup | India trounce Laos to make it through to third round of qualifiers

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Amlan Majumdar


India put up an emphatic performance against Laos to beat them 6-1 in the second leg of their AFC Asian Cup qualification playoffs at Guwahati on Tuesday. Jeje scored a brace as India came back from conceding an early goal, and booked their place in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

India starting XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Rino Anto, Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Keegan Pereira; Sunil Chhetri, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Md. Rafique, Udanta Singh; Sumeet Passi, Jeje Lalpekhlua

Laos starting XI: Sengphachan Bounthisanh (GK); Phachanhtha, Thenthong Phonsetta, Moukda Souksavath; Phattana Syvilay, Phoutthasay Khochalern, Paseuthsack Souliyavong, Manolom Phomsouvanh; Khonesavanh Sihavong, Sitthideth Khantavong, Khampeng Sayavutthi(C).

India came into this match with a 0-1 lead from the first leg—their first away win in a qualifier in 15 years. Stephen Constantine's men had the task of just avoiding a defeat at home in order to book their place in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

Laos, who were in desperate need of an early goal, made the perfect start to the match as Sihavong put them in the lead in the 16th minute of the match. Khantavong went past Rino on the left flank with ease, and pulled the ball back for Khampeng. The Laos skipper flicked it towards Sihavong, who finished it past a hapless Gurpreet in India's goal.

India equalized in the 43rd minute though as Jeje, who scored the winner in the first leg, found the bottom corner of the net after Jackichand Singh picked him out in the box with a perfect cross from the right wing. Even before Laos could recover from this shock, Sumit Passi provided India the lead with his first goal for the national team. Jackichand was once again the creator of this goal with another pinpoint cross, this time from the left wing. With this goal, India went into the halftime break with a 2-1 lead, and with one foot in the next round.

Just three minutes into the second half, and Sandesh Jhingan doubled India's lead in the match. He 'shouldered' in a free-kick—delivered by Eugeneson from 33 yards out—to make it 3-1.

As Laos pushed forward in search of goals, the Indian attackers began to exploit the space left behind by them at the back. Eventually, Jeje completed his brace with an emphatic run and finish. The striker received the ball from Chhetri at the edge of the box, and he ran past Moukda before finding the corner of the net with a powerful drive to make it 4-1.

Mohammed Rafique and Fulganco Cardozo completed the rout with two more goals towards the end of the match as Jackichand Singh completed a hattrick of assists. It was an embarassing defeat for the visitors, and one which will give India a lot of confidence heading into the next round.


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