The Indian national football team take on Laos in their first leg game of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Vientiane on Thursday. If Stephen Constantine's side have a better aggregate score over the two legs, they will qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
Catch the match report HERE.
For the away side, injuries to key players have been a massive concern ahead of the game. Several players like Robin Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Rowlin Borges, Pronay Halder, Cavin Lobo, Vinit Rai, Bikash Jairu and Augustine Fernandes have been ruled out of the match.
Constantine rued the fact that major players are missing, but the British coach has also urged his side to not let that get to them. "[The injuries to players are there] But there's no point looking back and crying. We are ready with what we have," the 53-year-old was quoted as saying by the AIFF website.
India talisman Sunil Chhetri, however, will be present in the team and the skipper has mentioned that Laos will not pose an easy challenge for them.
"Some of my [Bengaluru FC] teammates have been in Laos before but for me this is the first time. Seven-eight players of Laos Toyota FC played against Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup," said Chhetri. "The first time, they won 2-1; the second time, we won 2-1. It will not be an easy game," he added.
Laos, ranked 176 in the World, as compared to India's 162nd FIFA ranking, are coming into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw against Nepal in an international friendly match on Sunday. Ahead of the match against India, Laos coach Valakone Phomphukdy said that playing the first leg at home will come as an advantage.
"Our friendly against Nepal was good. It helped us to test our strategy as to what we need to do against India," said Phomphukdy. "We have had some two weeks' preparation for this match. Playing at home serves as an advantage. Some of our players have had the experience of playing against Bengaluru FC.
"We have been mentally preparing ourselves as to what it means to win for your country," he added.
Where to follow updates
Laos vs India is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. IST (6:30 p.m. local time) at Vientiane in Laos on June 2.
The match will have no broadcast or online live-streaming in India. However, updates from the match can be found on the official AIFF twitter handle.