AFC Asian Cup 2019: India defeated Thailand 4-1 in the opening match. © AFP
India were handed a reality check when they lost against hosts United Arab Emirates due to their poor finishing in the previous group stage match of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. However, on Monday, the 97th-ranked India will have a chance to book their maiden knock-out round berth in the continent’s showpiece event when they play Bahrain in Sharjah. A draw against the West Asian side, currently ranked 113, will be enough for India to qualify for the round of 16 for the first time in the tournament after failed attempts in 1984 and 2011. India’s talisman Sunil Chhetri will equal former captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s record of highest appearances for the country at 107 each on Monday. India had finished runners-up in the 1964 edition in Israel but that tournament was played in a round-robin format comprising four countries with the winners being decided on the basis of points collected in the league.
Live Football Score Updates Between India vs Bahrain, 2019 AFC Asian Cup from Sharjah
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) January 14, 2019
20:03 IST: Hello and welcome to the live commentary of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 match between India and Bahrain
There was not a single knock-out match in that edition. But even a defeat on Monday may still see India (3 points from 2 matches) through to the knock-out rounds as one of the four third-placed teams if hosts United Arab Emirates (4 from 2 matches) beat Thailand (3 from 2 matches) in Al Ain in the other Group A match to be played simultaneously.
Four third-placed sides from the six groups of four team each will also advance to the knock-out rounds, along with the top two countries. Under the competition rules of the Asian Cup, if two teams end their group stage engagements on equal points, the ranking will be decided first on the basis of head to head result.