After going down narrowly against Qatar in their last outing, team India is all set to face Bangladesh in their penultimate game of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Currently, the Blue Tigers stand at the 4th spot which is quite disappointing given the way we kick-started the tournament. With not even a single ‘W’ under our belt, India will go all in to grab the 3 crucial points against their neighbours.
3 draws is seemingly all that we could milk out of the last six high-pressure encounters whereas our counterparts, despite being the least ranked amongst the lot, have just a single point deficit in comparison. Speaking about their recent form, Bangladesh held Afghanistan (who are placed a rank higher than India) to level terms.
India’s recent performance against Qatar might have upped the team morale as well as giving the players the much-needed game readiness and we can definitely expect the team to churn out a positive result. Let’s go through the team news and analyze who could be the players to watch out for in such an elemental game!
Coach Igor Stimac is expected to field a very attacking squad and we can expect Brandon Fernandes -who has also assisted every single goal India has scored in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers- to control the midfield. Rowllin Borges’ availability is still a concern as he might miss the game because of an injury. Captain fantastic – Sunil Chhetri might also be one of the first names on the teamsheet alongside his Bengaluru FC comrade Udanta Singh who took the field in the second half against Qatar. Defender Chinglensana Singh is all set to pair up as the centre half after being sidelined in the previous game citing mild soreness.
Key Indian Players
1) Sandesh Jhingan
The talismanic centre back was a vital cog against Qatar and he will continue to play a key role in spearheading the Indian defence. His intimidating presence in the back four will surely keep a tap on the Bangladeshi attack. Jhingan will mostly pair up with Chinglensana Singh who has reportedly been declared fit to play, and the partnership can yield India their very first win in this edition of the World Cup Qualifiers.
2) Sunil Chhetri
After having quite a fruitful ISL season as he netted 8 goals (highest for any Indian player), Chhetri will be piloting team India’s attack. We can expect him to carry forward his form, and better his record at the international level.
3) Glan Martins
The debutant has definitely impressed many with his grit and shrewdness in the midfield. Glan Martins had a game to remember, donning the Indian jersey for the very first time against quality opposition like Qatar. He will be pretty much on the toes versus Bangladesh as we can expect India to play a high press and possession-based football.
Key Bangladeshi Players
1) Jamal Bhuyan
Denmark born Bangladeshi footballer who also heads them as the captain will be playing a major orchestrating role. The FC Copenhagen graduate has also spent a season in India on loan with Mohammedan SC. He has also bagged the bronze in South Asian games twice.
2) Topu Barman
Barman is a centre back who has a nose for goals. He’ll be riding high on confidence after scoring that late equalizer against Afghanistan. Having played for Bashundhara and Abahani Dhaka, Barman will be a threat to the Indian attackers.
3) Anisur Rahman Zico
The 23-year-old Bangladeshi custodian has kept 9 clean sheets in his 15 appearances in the Bangladesh PL. His presence between the sticks will be vital for their team.
Head to Head
India are the favourites heading into this game and we can expect the Blue Tigers to clinch those 3 points by keeping a comfortable scoreline. Manvir Singh has been knocking on the doors as many of his chances went begging in the last game, so we can definitely fancy him to score a goal or two!
Venue – Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Time – 7:30 pm (IST)
Live on – Star Sports Network, Disney Hotstar, Jio TV
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