AFC Asian Cup 2019: How can Sunil Chhetri and Co qualify for knockout stages after UAE defeat? – Times Now
India defeated Thailand, but lost to UAE in Asian Cup 2019  |  Photo Credit: Twitter
It was a ravishing start to India’s campaign in UAE in the Asian Cup 2019 when Sunil Chhetri and his side defeated Thailand in their opener on January 6 to script a historic win. However, the Blue Tigers suffered a poor 0-2 defeat to the host nation in their second Group A matches. With four matches of the group stage over, all four stand a chance to qualify for the round of 16.
India recorded their first win in an Asian Cup match in 55 years with a stunning 4-1 win last week against Thailand, before they suffered a 2-0 defeat to UAE. Meanwhile, on the same night, Thailand defeated Bahrain 1-0 to breathe life into their chance for qualifying for the knockouts. After four matches of the group stages in Group A, UAE lead with four points, followed by India and Thailand with three points each.
India will now play their last group-A match against Bahrain on January 14 with three scenarios coming forth regarding their selection for the knockout stage.
Scenario 1: India beat Bahrain – If India beat Bahrain, they will be assured of a spot in the round of 16 with six points. However, India’s chance to finish atop in Group A depends on the result in the match between UAE and Thailand. If UAE win, India finish second. But if the hosts are held by Thailand, India will assure themselves with a top-of-the-group finish based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
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Scenario 2: India draw against Bahrain – If India are held back by Bahrain, they will end their group stage with four points. This will imply that the Blue Tigers will be resting their hopes on the result between UAE and Thailand. Only if UAE win or draw against Thailand, will India stand a chance to make their way through to the next round.
If Thailand manage to upset the host nation, all India can hope is to qualify among the top four third-place teams in group stage.
Scenario 3: India lose to Bahrain – If India suffer a defeat, a hope of a top-two finish will be shattered. However, if UAE can beat Thailand, India can stand a chance to head to the round of 16 as part of the best-placed third-placed finishers. On the other hand, a Thailand win will be the end of all remaining hopes for India.