Bengaluru: India today qualified for the 2019 Asian Cup after they pumped in four goals for a convincing 4-1 win over Macau with two matches still to go in their qualifying round.
This is the third time the country has qualified for the continental showpiece. India have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup finals only twice in the past 37 years. The last time it happened was in 2011 and their only appearance before that was way back in 1984.
Rowllin Borges opened the scoring for India with a fine right-footed volley in the 28th minute, skipper Sunil Chhetri restored the lead, after the hosts conceded one, with a strike in the 60th minute, while Macau conceded an own goal in the 70th minute to dig their own grave at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
The fourth goal was scored by Jeje Lalpekhlua after being assisted by Chhetri. For Macau, Nicholas Tarrao scored in the 37th minute -- their first goal of the qualifying campaign.
India topped Group A qualifying round with 12 points from four matches. They play Myanmar on November 24 and Kyrgyzstan on March 27 next year. In the 2011 edition that was held in Doha, India lost all their group matches to Australia, South Korea and Bahrain.