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Matchday: How can India qualify for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup?

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AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

India’s poor disciplinary record might dampen their hopes of qualification…

The India U-23 team has put up a formidable show in the ongoing AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers. They beat Oman 2-1 and could have earned a point against UAE but for a penalty which allowed The Whites to pick up the three points. 

In other matches of Group E, Kyrgyzstan pulled off a surprise when they beat UAE, but in their next match lost to Oman. This means that all four teams have identical statistics in the table and have a chance to sail through to the next round. Let us have a look at the table for further clarity. 

4Kyrgyz Republic21012203

What are the rules that determine the standings? 

  1. Most number of points obtained in the league matches.

However, if two or more teams are equal on points, then their place shall be determined as follows

         2.  Points in head-to-head matches among tied teams.
         3.  Goal difference in head-to-head matches among tied teams.
         4.  Goals scored in head-to-head matches among tied teams.
         5.  If more than two teams are tied, and after applying all head-to-head criteria above, a subset of teams are still tied, all head-to-head criteria above are reapplied exclusively to this subset of teams.
         6.  Goal difference in all group matches.
         7.  Goals scored in all group matches.
         8.  Penalty shoot-out if only two teams are tied and they met in the last round of the group.
         9.  Disciplinary points (yellow card = 1 point, red card as a result of two yellow cards = 3 points, direct red card = 3 points, yellow card followed by direct red card = 4 points);
       10.  Drawing of lots.

How can India qualify for the U23 Asian Cup?

How can India qualify for the U23 Asian Cup

Scenario 1: India wins against Kyrgyzstan – If India beats Kyrgyzstan in the next match then they will move to six points. However, they will not be guaranteed a spot in the main event. For that to happen Oman must beat UAE. As in that case, India will top the table courtesy of a better head-to-head record.

If Oman draws against UAE, then India will qualify.

But if UAE win, then India will be the second team and then they have to hope that their stats are good enough to finish amongst the top-four second-ranked teams from ten groups considered for the best second-ranked team (one other group has only two teams).

Scenario 2: India draws against Kyrgyzstan: If India is held by Kyrgyzstan then they will finish on four points. Kyrgyzstan will also have the same number of points in that case.  If the other match of the group is not drawn, then the winner between Oman and UAE will finish on top and the loser will finish at the bottom. 

In this case, for the second spot there will be a penalty shootout between India and Kyrgyzstan if the two teams are still in contention to be amongst the four-best runners-up team. 

However, if Oman draws against UAE, then the teams will be ranked according to the number of goals scored in the group matches. So, if the India match ends in a 0-0 draw and the other match has a scoreline of 1-1 or more, then both India and Kyrgyzstan will be out. 

But if both the matches finish with identical scorelines, then the disciplinary record will come into play. Currently, the disciplinary table looks like this. 

CountryYellow Card (1 point)Red Card = Yellow Card + Yellow Card (3 points)Direct Red Card (3 points)Yellow Card Followed By Direct Red Card (4 points)Total Points

Scenario 3: India loses against Kyrgyzstan – If India lose against Kyrgyzstan, they will be out of the tournament.