Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], June 10 (ANI): Indian men’s football team will be looking to move closer to an AFC Asian Cup 2023 berth when they take on wounded Afghanistan at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday.
The Blue Tigers are currently sitting at the top of the points table in Group D after their win over Cambodia in their first match while Anoush Dastgir’s men who faced a defeat against Hong Kong in their first match need a win to stay in contention for an AFC Asian Cup berth.
Currently ranked 150th in the FIFA rankings, Afghanistan had only participated in the 1948 Olympics and played a 1984 AFC Asian Cup qualifying game in which they were able to score against Jordan but lost the match by 6-1. They finished last in their group.
Their first big international tournament was back in 2003, which was SAFF Gold Cup where they failed to win a single match. Next year in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers they managed to win against Kyrgyzstan but couldn’t make it to the next round.
The biggest achievement for Afghanistan Football came in 2013 when they won their first-ever international trophy at the SAFF Championship which was held in Nepal.
Afghanistan has only managed to win one game in their last five encounters. The win came against the Kuwait U-23 side. Their last match was against Hong Kong which they lost by a 2-1 scoreline.
India and Afghanistan have faced each other on nine occasions. In those nine encounters, India came on top in four while Afghans managed to win three, and two matches ended in a draw.
The last time India faced the Lions of Khurasan was in 2019 in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The earlier game in the World Cup qualifiers which was held in Dushanbe also ended in a 1-1 draw as India equalised in the dying minutes through Seiminlen Doungel. (ANI)