India and Tajikstan both drew first blood in the first leg of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying playoffs on Thursday.
Laos 0-1 India
India were narrow 1-0 winners over Laos at the National Stadium in Vientiane, putting them in the pound seats ahead of the return fixture on home soil next week.
Jeje Lalpekhlua was the hero for the Indians, heading home Udanta Singh’s cross after 55 minutes.
“I’m not satisfied with our gameplay, but the result pleases me, said India coach Stephen Constantine.
“In the next game we’re going to play at home, the play will be different with a better pitch and we’ll attack and try to win the game.”
Tajkistan 5-0 Bangladesh
Tajkistan had far too much firepower for Bangladesh at Republican Central Stadium, coasting to a resounding 5-0 win.
Jahongir Ergashev scored twice in the opening half hour, while Parvizjon Umarbaev, Davronjon Ergashev and Umedzhon Sharipov were all on target for the hosts as well.
Bangladesh now need a minor miracle if they’re to recover from their deficit in the second leg.
Chinese Taipei 2-2 Cambodia
It’s all still to play for between Chinese Taipei and Cambodia, who drew 2-2 draw in the first leg of their qualifier.
Huang Wei-Min handed Chinese Taipei the early lead, but Keo Sokpheng equalised within minutes for the visitors.
The hosts retook the lead midway through the first half through Chen Po-Liang, but Chhin Chhoeun ensured a share of the spoils for Cambodia ahead of the second leg.
“We got a very good result today with Chinese Taipei playing at home,” said Cambodia coach Lee Tae-hoon.
“We got two important goals in the first half. I have to prepare them to play more aggressively in the home game. The away goals are very, very important and I will focus on our two away goals in the home game.
Maldives 0-2 Yemen
Yemen seized the advantage with a 2-0 win over the Maldives away from home.
Aiman Al Hagri opened the scoring on the half-hour mark before Akram Hamood added a second 11 minutes from time.
The two teams meet again in Doha on June 7.