UAE vs India: India is set to face another stern test when they take on UAE in an international friendly on 29th March, in Zabeel Stadium in Dubai. On the back of a fighting 1-1 draw against Oman, India would look to emulate their second-half showing in the game versus Oman, against UAE. UAE, on the other hand, played an international game nearly 3 months ago in a goalless draw against Iraq.
India’s 27-man squad boasts of youngsters who were given the nod on the back of a good showing in the ISL. Igor Stimac would want his young squad to experience this challenge and enjoy themselves out in the middle. The gaffer opined that UAE is a more technical side than Oman and that it would be a very difficult match for the Blue Tigers. India would also have to cope with UAE’s high pressing and also look to win all second balls. Igor has also indicated that players who hadn’t featured in the game against Oman will get the nod, against UAE. Nonetheless, the Blue Tigers will have their work cut out against this strong UAE side.
UAE, coached by Dutchman, Bert Van Marwijk, start as favorites against the much lower-ranked Indian team. The two-time Gulf Cup champions will be looking to dominate proceedings on Monday.
Player to watch out for
Ishan Pandita who made his debut against Oman is expected to start against UAE. The 22-year old who had a memorable ISL had 4 goals from the bench for FC Goa. He averages a goal every 33 minutes. Ishan can be a threat to the opposition if provided with chances in front of the goal.
The 19-year old, Lalengmawia will be a key player for India against the strong UAE side. The Emerging Player of this year’s ISL was impressive against Oman when he came on at halftime. His composure in the middle of the park, in attack, and in defense will hold the key for India.
For UAE, with key midfielders Abdullah Al-Naqbi and Caio Caicedo missing out with injuries, Ali Mabkhout will be the one to watch for. The all-time highest goal scorer for UAE, Ali Mabkhout has scored 6 goals in the ongoing world cup qualifier including a hattrick in the 5-0 win over Indonesia. The 30-year old would be looking to cause problems for the Indian defenders.
Igor Stimac had indicated that he would give chance to the players who did not feature against Oman, so we could see a new-look Indian side against UAE. Igor confirmed that Apuia will definitely start after featuring for 45 minutes against Oman. Igor could also hand start to Liston and Ishan Pandita as well. Captain Gurpreet is set to take over in goal with Hitesh Sharma in line for a probable debut.
India has faced UAE 14 times where UAE have come out on top during 9 occasions whereas India has won thrice and 2 games ending in draws.
UAE start as firm favorites against India on Monday. The new-look Indian team will have to defend well in order to get a result in this game. Having said that, UAE last played an international game nearly 3 months ago and hence would not find it easy to play free-flowing football against India. UAE, however, is expected to see this through and win by a narrow margin against the Blue Tigers.
Match Date: 29th March,2021(Monday)
Time: 8.30pm IST
Venue: Zabeen Stadium, Dubai
Live Telecast: Eurosport
FIFA rankings: India – 104, UAE – 74