Having missed out on the 2015 Asian Cup, India captain Sunil Chhetri is determined to prove himself at the 2019 edition of the continent’s premier football tournament.
India qualified for the 2019 Asian Cup after thrashing Macau 4-1 in their qualifier at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday evening.
India had failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup and thus also failed to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
“I was there when we missed out in 2015 and that still hurts me,” Chhetri said after the match.
“This is the tournament we play for. We get to rub our shoulders against best in Asia which we don’t get many times,” he added.
Rowllin Borges (28th minute) put India ahead in the first half before Sunil Chhetri (60th) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (90+2) found the net after the break.
Macau defender Man Fai Ho scored an own goal in the 70th minute while trying to clear a pass into the penalty box by India’s Halicharan Narzary.
Nicholas Mário de Almeida Torrão scored the lone goal for the visitors in the 37th minute.
The Indians have been in impressive form, winning all the four group matches they have played so far to ensure qualification in style.
Chhetri praised his teammates for their performance, but admitted that the Indians will have to be at the top of their game and cut out the mistakes when they travel to the United Arab Emirates in 2019 for the tournament proper.
“Amazing feeling. We have worked hard for this. Quite a group. Good last 3 points. great feeling. Happy with the way we bounced back,” the striker said.
“Just four teams qualified. It shows our hard work. We will keep working hard.
“We can’t lose our cool. The goal we conceded was against the run of play. Balwant had great pace and set it up for me to finish,” he added.