AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers: India faces Kyrgyz Republic in crucial match

India will lock horns with Kyrgyz Republic in a do-or-die last league match of the AFC U-23 Asia Cup qualifiers on Sunday, hoping to qualify for the tournament proper of the continental youth championship.

India will not only have to win their match but also hope that result of the other game in Group E too goes in their favour.

The Indians beat Oman 2-1 but lost to the hosts UAE in their previous matches.

“We are treating the match against Kyrgyz Republic as any other game,” head coach Igor Stimac said prior to the crucial game.

India has three points from two matches, and a win against the Kyrgyz Republic will brighten their chances of qualifying for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup, scheduled to be held next year in Uzbekistan.

“The boys need to try staying concentrated and disciplined, always respectful to the opponent, but without any fear,” the head coach added.

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“Moving the ball quickly, and switching sides is crucial against aggressive teams like Kyrgyz. So let’s hope our boys will stay focused. We have seen in our last match against UAE that the pace of the game is much quicker than what our boys are used to, so having more than two touches on the ball doesn’t help,” he maintained.

India had beaten Oman in their first game and suffered a 0-1 loss against UAE. In contrast, Kyrgyz Republic beat UAE 2-1 in their first match and lost to Oman 0-1 in the second.

“Kyrgyz Republic defeated UAE deservedly and were unlucky to lose to Oman in the dying minutes after missing some great chances. They are an aggressive side, and are physically very strong, well prepared and quick in transition,” Stimac explained.

“They have 4-5 players with great technical abilities, so we shouldn’t leave time or space for them to operate. Off the ball, they move well, and we need to find a way to move the ball before they get to us. It will be a very interesting game,” Stimac concluded.

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