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Asian Cup qualifiers: India aim for full points vs Afghanistan

Fresh from their 2-0 win against Bangladesh, the Sunil Chhetri-led India will look to garner full points when they face Afghanistan in their last Group E match of the World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium here on Tuesday.

While the 105th-ranked India are out of the race for the World Cup qualification, they only need to avoid defeat against the 149th-ranked Afghanistan to confirm the third spot behind leaders Qatar (22 points) and second-placed Oman (15 points) in Group E.

India are currently on six points — one more than Afghanistan — and a win on Tuesday will help them enter the final round of the Qualifiers for the Asian Cup China 2023 on a high.

India’s head coach, Igor Stimac, will count on the momentum generated by the 2-0 win against ‘tricky customers’ Bangladesh on June 7, when Chhetri scored a brace. India had also given a good account of themselves in the opening match against Asian champions Qatar on June 3, when despite being reduced to 10 men they conceded only one goal.

Stimac is likely to field his best team to end India’s campaign on a high.

Afghanistan, placed fourth with five points , have had meagre picking here so far. With just one point from two matches, they would target finishing ahead of India on the points table, though finishing fourth too would also likely be enough for them to advance to the final round of Qualifiers for the Asian Cup China 2023.

Squads:

India:

Goalkeepers:

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh.

Defenders:

Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Narender Gehlot, Chinglensana Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Akash Mishra, Subhashish Bose.

Midfielders:

Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Rowllin Borges, Glan Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Pronoy Halder, Suresh Singh, Lalengmawia Ralte, Abdul Sahal, Yasir Mohammad, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Bipin Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan.

Forwards:

Ishan Pandita, Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.

Afghanistan:

Goalkeepers:

Ovays Azizi, Faisal Hamidi, Hamidullah Wakely.

Defenders:

Masih Saighani, David Najem, Zohib Islam Amiri, Najim Haidary, Hussain Alizada, Sharif Mukhammad, Hassan Amin.

Midfielders:

Adam Najem, Noor Husin, Zubayr Amiri, Farshad Noor (Capt), Faysal Shayesteh, Maziar Kouhyar, Fardin Hakimi, Milad Intezar, Abassin Alikhil, Zelfy Nazary, Samir Samandari.

Forwards:

Jabar Sharza, Norlla Amiri, Omran Haydary, Amredin Sharifi, Omid Popalzay, Hossein Zamani, Fareed Sadat.

Kick-off: 7:30 p.m. IST (Live on STAR Sports 2 & 3).

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