Despite continuous rains, yesterday was a great day for Mumbai Football fans. Few of the die hard Indian Football fan got the opportunity to watch Intra Squad practice match from the stands. For fans nationwide, AIFF arranged Facebook live but the due to the poor quality. We hardly could recognise the players , let alone the gameplay and techniques. But to the delight of our audience, we had our correspondent in the stand and hence we could bring you a technical review.
India was divided into India Blue and India white.
India Blue starting eleven was consisted of players who have regular part of India since Constantine time. Adil and Mandar Rao was the exceptions. These were the players who started for India Blues
Kotal, Jhingan, Adil, Bose
Pronoy, Thapa, Udanta, Mandar
Balwant , Chhetri
On the other hand India White was made up of relatively new called ups and junior players. This is how they lined up.
Bheke, Nerendra Gahlot, Anwar Ali, Nishu
Vinit, Amarjit, Sahal
Poojary, Chhangte, Soosairaj.
After few minutes of the match, Sandesh and Pronoy got injured and replaced by Salam Ranjan and Anas respectively. The extent of injury of the players is still not known. These were not the only substitution, as most of the players of the squad got some game time during the match. There were lots of substitution through out the match. Brandon , Raynier etc were few exceptions.
The match ended draw with the scoreline reading 2-2.
Chhangte opened the scoreline for India White. It was equalised by Mandar Rao, Mandar punished India white for a big defensive lapse by Bheke and Gahlot. Soon after that India white again took the lead courtesy to brilliant finish by Farukh. However this time again India white could not hold on to the lead as Udanta equalised for India blue towards the dying minutes.
Now coming to the technical part, this is how both teams were lined up and played accordingly.
India Blue was lined up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation. Sunil Chhetri was continuously dropping down the pitch which made it 4-2-3-1 at times. India blue kept the possession for most of the time and tried to build up their play from the back with occasional long ball towards the wing here and there. For India Blue Udanta was the most standout man. Sunil Chhetri didn’t failed to show his greatness either. He had a major role to play for the last goal. Looking at the starting line up, we felt that Stimac played his main defensive line for India Blue to give them some time together. Unfortunately the injury of Jhingan didn’t help the cause.
India White played with a formation of 4-3-3 with a false 9. India white did not play with an out an out striker but deployed Chhangte in a false 9 position. Chhangte was given free role to drop down , help the team in building up and also go to further up to score. Unlike India Blue, India white did not look to hold possession or build it up from back with short pass. In contrast India white was quite happy to let India blue hold possession and hit them in counter. This tectic seemed to work as India White as they created many opportunities in counter. Vinit Rai and Chhangte was standout player for India White. Amrinder impressed as well with some great saves. Bheke was again struggling to find his best form. Anwar Ali was good and will definitely challenge for a place in the defensive line.
This Practice match wasn’t a match where the squad was divided randomly and asked to play each other. The players were divided in a way that all the player get an opportunity to play in a position best suited for them. It was evident that Igor Stimac deployed his Plan A and B in this match. We could expect the formation and gameplay of India Blue when we play against team weaker than us or a team who will sit back against us. On the contrast, with India white he reflected how India would approach against a team who is stronger than us. We can expect India to hold possession and build up from back with short passes against teams where we go as favourite. On the other hand, we can expect India to sit deep and hit on counter against team superior than us. Both formation were very different from each other , where one had two strikers, the other had none but false 9. This shows that Igor Stimac has fluidity in his system and will adopt the style of play as the situation demands. It’s important to mention that in neither of the team Stimac deployed his favourite 4-4-2 diamond, but we will definitely see India lined up in that, as they did against Thailand. Such wide techniques and formations will give India a great advantage going forward as the opponent will have a hard time reading India’s technique.