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Crunch match for India

Margao, March 29 (PTI): India, having lost their away match against North Korea, will have to go all out for a comprehensive win against their formidable rivals when the two sides meet again in the return match of the group G Asian Cup football championship qualifier Sunday.

With star striker Bhaichung Bhutia, reliable defender Debjit Ghosh and promising striker Ashim Biswas being ruled out, the young Indians will have to depend on the experience of I.M. Vijayan and captain Jo Paul Ancheri to deliver the goods.

Having lost 0-2 in their away match, India will have to win at least by a margin of 2-0 to entertain hopes of advancing to the next round. They will also have to ensure that they don’t concede any goals, since the North Koreans will gain on the ‘away goals’ rule for each goal they score.

“It will definitely be a tough game and it will be difficult to beat the Koreans, who only need a draw to move into the next round. We will follow a safety-first ploy (5-4-1) with only one striker,” said India coach Stephen Constantine.

“If our boys succeed in getting them tired in the first half and get an early goal, we stand a good chance to snatch victory, who are dangerous on dead-ball situations,” Constantine noted. He admitted the team will sorely miss the services of Bhutia.

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