Stephen Constantine and his Men in Blue get ready to welcome Macau in the fourth match-day of the AFC Cup 2019 qualifiers on October 11.
India had beaten Macau 2-0 in the away-leg during match-day three and will be confident of securing the three points once again to keep their perfect record in the qualifiers alive.
Given below is how the current table stands after match-day three results. It has to be borne in mind that the match between the other two teams in the group – Myanmar and the Kyrgyz Republic, was postponed and the rescheduled date for the fixture is yet to be announced.
The rules for qualification designate that the top two teams from the group will secure their tickets to the final stage in 2019. If two or more teams end up level on points after the completion of all matches, below is a winner will be decided in order of sequence.
- Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
Away goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams;
If more than two teams are tied, and after applying criteria one to four, a subset of teams are still tied, criteria 1 to 4 are reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams. In case those criterias still fail to divide the teams, then they will be separated as follow:-
Goal difference in all group matches;
Goals scored in all group matches;
Penalty shoot-out if only two teams are tied and they met in the last round of the group;
Disciplinary points (yellow card = 1 point, red card as a result of two yellow cards = 3 points, direct red card = 3 points, yellow card followed by direct red card = 4 points);
Scenario A and B
On match-day four, if India beat Macau and Myanmar beat Kyrgyz Republic, then below is how the group table will look.
In this scenario, India will develop a nine point lead over the third-placed team in the fray, Kyrgyz Republic. Hence the Central Asians would need to win their three remaining games in hand while India would have to lose its remaining games for the Men in Blue to be in danger of missing out on the qualification.
Even then it would boil down to head to head and then goal difference to separate the three teams provided Myanmar wins two of its remaining games as the three would be locked on 12 points each.
Anything less than that, India will walk into the main draw in 2019.
The same is applicable for a scenario where Kyrgyz Republic beat Myanmar. In that case, Myanmar would need to win its three games in hand and the same permutations would apply.
Therefore, this combination puts India with one foot in the main-draw with only a perfect storm of results going the other way preventing qualification for Constantine’s men.
On match-day four, if India beat Macau while Kyrgyz Republic and Myanmar draw their match, then below is how the group table will look.
In this scenario, India will develop an eight-point lead over the second and third placed teams who would be tied on 4 points each.
This is the perfect scenario for India, as only one of Myanmar or Kyrgyz Republic will be able to overhaul their tally of 12 points. Since Myanmar and Kyrgyz Republic play each other once again, only one team can achieve a maximum of nine points in their remaining three games.
Whatever the result of the postponed game, points will be dropped by one team or both and hence, India, in the worst case scenario, will be overhauled by only one team.
Therefore this remains the best case scenario for Constantine’s men as it guarantees qualification.
Scenario D and E
On match-day four, if India draw with Macau and Myanmar beats Kyrgyz Republic, then below is how the group table will look.
In this scenario, India would have a seven-point lead over the third placed team, Kyrgyz Republic. With three matches in hand, the Central Asians can cover up that game with three wins or two wins and a draw provide India lose their remaining fixtures.
There are chances of India missing out on qualification, even the odds are slim as it requires Constantine’s men to slip up in their last two games.
In case India draw and Kyrgyz Republic beat Myanmar, the same permutations as above will arise.
Therefore, this remains a less than ideal but still manageable scenario for India to secure their qualification.
If India do manage to lose to Macau against all odds, then the qualification scenario obviously gets more complicated for Constantine’s men as the other two teams will have three games in hand and once again a combination of results going against them which could yet see them miss out on the plane to UAE. This is how the table will look if India lost to Macau and Myanmar won against Kyrgyzstan. It will be the same if Kyrgyzstan won against Myanmar as well.
In conclusion, India remain in a very strong position to qualify with their perfect performance so far and another victory on October 11 will all but seal their route to the 24-team team main event in 2019.