AFC Asian Cup 2019 Highlights: India stuns Thailand 4-1

Catch live updates and minute-to-minute commentary from India's Group A opener against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

Sunil Chhetri, who is coming out of an ankle injury, will once again be the linchpin of India's attack.   -  pti

Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of India's Group A opener against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

India 4-1 Thailand

FULL TIME

And India defeats Thailand 4-1. What a result!  That's India's first victory in the Asian Cup since 1964 and also its biggest. Creating history in its very first game.  And even better, India goes top of Group A ahead of UAE and Bahrain.

The way Stephen Constantine's men stepped up in the second half shows there's more than a glimmer of hope for them in the tournament.

 

90' Three minutes added on at the end of 90. Looks like India has done the job.

Look at the possession stats. India's made best of its chances.

 

80' GOAL! One more for India. And this time it's substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua with a fine strike from the edge of the box. What is happening here? Is this the same Jeje that struggled in front of goal for Chennaiyin FC this season?

 

78' Corner to Thailand but Gurpreet punches it away and safely grabs the cross that followed. Thailand can't seem to find an outlet.

74' Thailand with a chance at the other end. It's Dangda again but Anas Edathodika just does enough to put it out for a corner.

The Indian team is so Indian. Saves its best play for when it matters most.

70' It's been an extraordinary performance from India in the second half. We've already had an upset today as Jordan defeated Australia 1-0. Can India see this through?

 

68' GOAL! Chhetri is involved again but debutant Anirudh Thapa that scores with a beautiful chip over the keeper. India 3-1 up. 

Delightful ball from Chhetri who starts yet another counter-attack. Udanta is clear in front of goal but the defenders force him to turn and he finds Thapa behind him. The youngster doesn't miss.

62' What a gloroius chance to make it 3-1 for India. Chhetri and Udanta again. Udanta plays in a low cross and Chhetri gets there as the goalkeeper fumbles but a last-ditch tackle from the defender keeps him from tapping it into an empty goal and completing a hat-trick.

Heart in mouths moment for Thailand.

 

60' Another corner for India. Its forwards suddenly look too good for Thailand which can't seem to get out of its half and string a few good moves together.

54' Chance! Chhetri is getting on the end of everything! His header from a corner is just too high.

Udanta is key.

 

52' India's enjoying most of the possession at the moment. They're taking the game to Thailand this half and it's another corner.

49' Looks like India's chains have been lifted. That's another chance at the end of a good spell of atatcking play. Thapa's shot is straight at the goalkeeper though.

They must have.

 

46' GOAL!! What a shot and Chhetri scores another! Started the move and finishes it. Chhetri starts a quick counter attack as he plays the ball wide to Udanta with acres of space in front of him. He squares, Ashique miscontrols it, but no problem, it falls into Chhetri path and he strikes with precision into the top corner.

Here's how India scored.  Chhetri...who else?

 

HALF TIME

The referee blows the whistle at the end of an exciting first half. Sunil Chhetri put India ahead with a penalty that came against the run of play, but Thailand quickly equalised through captain Teerasil Dandga.

India's passing has been a little erratic.

India has a good chance to see this through

42' Chhetri's shot from the edge of the box is wayward. As we move towards the end of the half, things are getting frantic. More chances at either end.

37' Chance for India! Ashique plays a beautiful cross and picks out Pranoy Halder who chests it to Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri tries to wriggle past two defenders, and his shot gets a deflection as it goes out for a corner.

35' Thailand is still on the front foot as it searches for the goal to put it in the lead before half-time. The Indians seem to have been pushed up against a wall.

33' GOAL and Thailand equalizes! Captain Teerasil Dandga gets at the end of a brilliant free-kick from the right and heads it past a helpless Gurpreet.

 

30' Thitipan with a chance again! He lets one fly from outside the box but it's too high.

29' Thailand breaks into a quick counter but Halicharan races back and gets it back with India with a good tackle.

Go to the match centre for Live stats and more.

You called it.

26' Penalty to India. Sunil Chhetri steps up. Slow run up and he SCORES! Slots it into the bottom-right corner. With 66 international goals, he's a goal ahead of Lionel Messi. Stephen Constantine talked about India needing luck at the tournament and so far luck has been on its side as Chhetri puts India in front completely against the run of play.

25' What a through ball! Anas makes a last ditch tackle to keep India in the game as the pressure builds.

24' Thailand is starting to grow into the game. More crosses coming in and the play has been mostly in India's half.

20' Chance to Thailand! Sandesh Jhingan gives away a free-kick to Thailand. It's a great delivery into the middle of the box. Gurpreet somehow keeps it out among a herd of Thai players and takes a hit to his face too. It goes out for a corner.

15' Anirudh Thapa takes the free-kick. He floats a good ball in but misses Indian heads. The ball is kept in play though and another cross comes in, but misses everyone.

13' Chhetri has looked the most lively and dangerous for Thailand. He wins a free kick with a good turn.

11' Chance! Thailand's Thitipan with an ambitious effort from outside the box. It's a good strike and not too far away either. Forced Gurpreet into a dive.

10' The first ten minutes have gone in either team trying to get a hold of proceedings.

5' Midfielder Chanathiph has looked the most potent for Thailand so far in a scrappy first five minutes.

 

3' Ashique Kuruniyan powers down the left wing and plays one in, but the ball's not good enough. A few moments later, it comes back to him and he squares it, just missing Sunil Chhetri. He'll be looking to fire.

1' And we have kick-off. India is in white and Thailand is playing in its traditional colours - dark blue. India looks set up in a basic 4-4-2 that morphs into a 4-5-1 in defense.

Preview

It's almost time for India's return to the Asian Cup after a long eight years. India is grouped with UAE, Bahrain and Thailand in Group A. It's not an easy group and India's rank of 97 does not betray its quality, but one thing is for sure - this is a team that's hard to beat.

Thailand is India's first hurdle. Although the War Elephants are ranked lower than India, they've proven to be a good side over the past year. Read the match preview for everything you need to know before heading into the game.  The match kicks off at 7pm IST.

Here are the starting line-ups.

Familiar names in the Indian line-up. (Read: AFC Asian Cup 2019: Constantine sticks with tried and tested players)

Our reporter Shyam Vasudevan is already down there and he'll be giving us regular updates from the Al-Nahyan stadium. The atmosphere's building.

The build-up:

Group preview |  Group A: India will fancy its chances

That's quite a good number of fans.

"We came here believing we can qualify from the group stage and if we get a win, it will increase our chances. We did not come here to participate and make up numbers," says Stephen Constantine

India will be playing in white today.

Player interviews:

Gurpreet: ‘We have to be smart in our approach

Anirudh Thapa: ‘My job is to help others score’

Chhetri: It won't be easy for other teams to face India