India had a comfortable outing against Macau on Saturday in the AFC Asian Cup qualifier clash as they clinched a 2-0 victory against the hosts at the Macau Olympic Stadium. The Blue Tigers with this win moved a step closer to book a spot in the top tier Asian football competition.

Skipper Sunil Chettri had a few goal opportunities missed in the first 45 minutes of the game as Macau defence line kept it tight for the Indian forwards. The hosts were resolute in their defending and did a little wrong in their ball blocking tactics. Striker Balwant Singh took the game away from Macau in the second half with his two straight goals.

After a goalless first half, Balwant who came on as a substitute in place of midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh scored both the goals for India and ensured the top spot in the Group A of the qualifiers with 9 points from 3 games.

This was Balwant Singh’s only third appearance in the blue colours for the country and the striker now has 3 goals in 3 international matches. Coach Stephen Constantine’s decision to replace a midfield player with him worked wonders as India went on to seal another important victory in the qualifying rounds.

Balwant headed the opener in the 57th minute when he perfectly pushed in a cross from Narayan Das into bottom right corner of the goal. It was comedy of errors in the 82nd minute as a prolific Balwant once again took advantage of a defensive lapse from the Macau backline and netted the second for the Blue Tigers. The two keepers played the ball into each other’s half before Balwant got an open chance with only the Macau post in front of him.

India dominated the possession and the game play in the second half and Macau were outclassed by Chettri and his men.

Earlier India had beaten kyrgyzstan and Myanmar in the qualifiers and this win takes the team on an 11 match unbeaten run with 10 wins and 1 draw in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. India are now most likely to compete in the Asian Cup after missing the competition last year. The Blue Tigers have played brilliant football this year and were undoubtedly the best side today in the encounter.

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