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India face Chinese Taipei in AFC Qualifiers

High on confidence but low on performance, India will look to put behind the recent reverses when they take on Chinese Taipei in their opening match of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying tournament on Saturday.

India lost to Palestine 2-4 in an international friendly at home on February 6, barely four months after their 0-2 away verdict against Singapore.

The scorers against Palestine, Syed Rahim Nabi and Clifford Miranda, will be turning out on Saturday as well, but it is again going to be skipper Sunil Chhetri who will have to shoulder the bulk of responsibility.

AFC Challenge has always been a good outing for Chhetri and despite the lack of playing time at Sporting Lisbon, the pint-sized striker will be expected to deliver the goods for Wim Koevermans’ side.

India can take heart from the fact that they had thrashed their opponents 3-0 the last time they met, in the qualifiers of the same tournament last year.

India are ranked 167th in the world, with their opponents placed at 171.

The five group toppers along with two best second-placed teams from 20 nations will make it to the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives.

The winner of the tournament in Maldives will confirm its berth in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, for which DPR Korea has already qualified.
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