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Hong Kong vs Afghanistan – LIVE Reddit Soccer 08/06/2022

Hong Kong vs Afghanistan – LIVE Reddit Soccer 08/06/2022

Hong Kong and Afghanistan lock horns at the Salt Lake Stadium in neutral Kolkata, India for a clash in Group D of the 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers. The Strength have played in competitive finals only thrice in history, the last of which came in 1968. They have a chance to end that drought after being drawn in a relatively easy group which also features India and Cambodia. Afghanistan have not played in any major tournaments before and enter the match on the back of a 2-0 friendly loss to Vietnam last Wednesday.

Head coach Jorn Andersen has called up 25 players for this month’s qualifying campaign, all of whom are locally based players. All-time record appearance-maker Yapp Hung Fai, who has 79 caps with the side, could extend his record further by taking his position between the sticks once again. Midfielder Faysal Shayesteh is just one goal away from claiming the title as Afghanistan’s all-time top-scorer. He would also become the first player in history to hit double figures in terms of goals scored.

Hong Kong’s ranking in the FIFA not é very far from Afghanistan. The é at 147º placed, three more positions. The last official competition disputed by the team was the Qualifiers for the World Cup, in which they finished in runner-up with only five points conquered against Go, Iraq, Bahrain and Cambodia. In the last 10 official games, Hong Kong lost eight times, drew another and won only once – against Cambodia 2-0.

The Indian men’s football team will start its AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers third round campaign against Cambodia at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on June 8. India are in Group D for the final round of the Asian Cup qualifiers with Cambodia, Hong Kong and Afghanistan. This will be the final chance for India to secure an Asian Cup spot. Sunil Chhetri and Co. had failed to secure a continental berth in the second round of qualifiers after finishing behind reigning Asian champions Qatar and Oman in Group E.

The third round of the qualifiers will see 24 teams vie for 11 remaining spots. The sides have been divided into six groups of four teams each. Teams in each group will play each other once and the eventual group winner and five best runner-ups will qualify for Asian Cup 2023. All matches in each group will be hosted at a centralised venue due to COVID-19. The Group D fixtures will be held at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), also known as the Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata. Igor Stimac’s India will start as the favourites to progress from Group D. Barring the obvious home turf advantage, India are also the best-ranked team in the group, placed 106th in the latest FIFA Rankings. Hong Kong are 147th, Afghanistan 150th and Cambodia 171st.

India have also named a strong team for the qualifiers with big names like Sunil Chhetri, Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu all featuring. Youngster Liston Colaco will be in focus for the upcoming matches after a slew of fine performances with ATK Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup group stage recently. India have played in four AFC Asian Cups in 1964, 1984, 2011 and 2019. The team’s best performance at the continental event was a runners-up finish on their debut campaign in 1964. In the other three occasions, the Indian team football failed to progress beyond the group stages. At the last edition in 2019, Sunil Chhetri and Co. heartbreakingly lost out on a knockout phase spot after conceding a late penalty in their final group game against Bahrain.

The other game in the group sees Hong Kong take on Afghanistan, with Hong Kong coach Jorn Andersen downplaying his side’s chances after a difficult build-up that has been hampered by a major COVID-19 outbreak in the territory earlier in the year.

“We are coming here not with too big expectations,” said the former DPR Korea coach, whose side lost 2-0 in a friendly against Malaysia last week. “We know our situation, we know we can’t play with the best team here.”

“For a team like Hong Kong not to play with seven, eight best players is difficult. Every team has difficulty when they take seven or eight best payers out of the side.

“So our expectations here are not too high now, but we will try our best. We are together for five weeks and if we can, in this time, come back to a good level I’m not so sure. But we’re going to try our best.”

Andersen’s side will be taking on an Afghanistan team coached by Anoush Dastgir and who have set their sights on making further improvements after a fourth place finish in the previous round of the preliminaries.

“The last four years we trained for this, we played for this, to qualify for the first time in history of Afghanistan football for the Asian Cup and for us this is all or nothing,” he said. “So we will go into the game and hope for the best result.”

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