India have taken a 1-0 lead from their first leg match against Laos in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier. Jeje Lalpekhlua remained the only goalscorer for Stephen Constantine's side on Thursday at Vientiane in Laos.
If Constantine's side manage to prevent Laos from scoring in the return leg game in Guwahati on June 7, India seal qualification to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
The Mohun Bagan striker was his usual clinical self up front, heading in a cross from Bengaluru FC forward Udanta Singh in the 56th minute of the game. The majority of the match was without much action, as both sides struggled to create chances.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh got dangerously close to opening the scoring in the first half for the away side as he attempted an impressive acrobatic volley from way out of the box just before the half time. However, the Laos goalkeeper remained untroubled as the ball travelled way past the goal.
In the second half, India gelled better than they did in the first 45 minutes and Jeje, who kept prowling inside the Laos box, finally took the advantage to head in the crucial and only goal of the match. The away side reacted a bit aggressively after conceding the goal, committing a lot of mistimed tackles and fouls.
As for chances, Laos couldn't make much of a mark and they know they have to draw all their strength back before facing Constantine's men once more in the return leg next week.