Jeje’s Late Goal Sends India Through As Group Winners

Match Report Indian Super League

An 88th-minute goal from Jeje Lalpekhlua ensured that India qualified for next year’s Asian Cup as Group A winners. It looked as if the Kyrgyz Republic were going to snatch top spot from India after goals from Zemlianukhin Anton & Murzaev Mirlan put the home side two goals to the good, but then up popped the Chennaiyin hitman to send India back to the top of the group.

It’s not the simplest of processes to work out because to the naked eye, it looks like Kyrgyzstan should’ve qualified by virtue of goals scored, however, as we’ve found with the ISL as well, things are seemingly never straightforward over here.

Nothing Is Ever Straightforward

So, the tie-breaker rules are as follows (I’m not going to list all of them, just until we get to the point where you understand why India topped the group): Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams (Both got three points) | Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams (Both sides finished with a GD of 0) | Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams (Both scored two) | Away goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams (India scored once in Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan failed to score in India). So there you go, that’s why the went through as group winners!

Balwant had two goals ruled out for offside in the first-half and you have to feel that if either of those stood, the game would have had a completely different feel to it. As it goes, they didn’t stand and Kyrgyzstan dominated and were deserved winners in the end; it was a real chance for India to move up the FIFA Rankings, nevertheless, qualification is the more important matter at hand here and that’s exactly what Constantine’s side have done.

How Did Constantine’s Men Line Up?

I’m not going to write much more as I like keeping these pieces short and to the point, so I’ll leave you with how India lined up…

Gurpreet, Anas, Narayan (Jerry ‘46), Jhingan, Lalruatthara, Rowllin (Anirudh ‘85), MD Rafique, Udanta (Doungel ‘60), Balwant, Narzary, Jeje.     

In closing, while it was particularly evident that India missed their skipper, Sunil Chhetri, they’ve still qualified for the finals which is a bonus, especially when you consider this is only the second time they’ve made it this far since the early 80’s. A lot of how they get on in the UAE next year will be down to how kind the draw is.

If they’re lucky they could end up in a group with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkmenistan and if that’s the case, you’d fancy them to come second. Alternatively, it could be Australia, China and Jordan which would be a much more difficult prospect. Regardless of who they do get, you’ll find all the information about their group here. I was going to make a claim that we would have it first, that’s not likely, mind. I will make the claim that we’ll have the best article about it all. Bold statement, I know.

Until the next time.

About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think?