Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi
8th September, 2010: 6:30 PM IST
India would like to put behind the disappointment of last Saturday when they take on Thailand, tomorrow at the Ambedkar stadium in New Delhi. India who were thoroughly outclassed by the young Thai team in the away fixture on the 4th of September would rely heavily on home crowd support this time around. Thai coach Bryan Robson said in his post match interview that although he was impressed by the skills of the Indian team, they need to work laboriously on their fitness. The India team played almost with a non existent mid field in Bangkok and would be hoping that their experienced mid fielder Steven Dias comes good in the capital if they plan to trouble Robson’s men.
The clouds are still looming large over the availability of defender Samir Naik for the return encounter and Bhutia if declared fit can be used as a substitute by Houghton.
Indian and Thailand both have an Englishman at the helm of their teams but both of them have a different propaganda altogether. With a number of under 23 players in the Thai squad their coach had clearly stated that he is choosing his line-up keeping the Asian games in mind. Where as, Indian coach Bob Houghton yesterday refused to release any player from his current squad for the Asian games as his focal point is the 2011 Asia Cup.
Only six players have been retained by ex- Manchester United Midfielder from Saturday’s match with goal scorer Sarayoot Chaikamdee and experienced midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao making way for their captain Nattaporn Pharnit and goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan respectively who were not in the squad for the match over the weekend. With only five players over the age of 23, it is pretty evident that India, who would be taking on Australia, South Korea and Bahrain in Qatar in January, will be far from facing a full strength Thai national team.
In spite of taking on a team placed 34 places above them it will be a totally different ball game on the 8th of September and India is expected to step on the field as firm favorites when they play the South East Asian team in the national capital. Ambedkar stadium has been a lucky hunting ground for the Indian national team off late, with a hat-trick of trophies coming from 2007-2009. So we should expect nothing less than a capacity crowd this Wednesday when India take on Thailand in their first International match on their home soil in over a year.
Probable Line Up (India):
Subrata, Surkumar, Gaurmangi, Anwar, Manju, Anthony, Renedy, Pradeep, Steven, Rafi, Sunil.
Both of them met last Saturday at the Yamaha stadium, Bangkok with an inexperienced Thai team trouncing the Indian side 1-0 after completely dominating the fixture for 90 minutes.
TheHardTackle’s Player to watch out for:
Subrata Paul (India):
This 23 year old Pune FC goalkeeper was the only saving grace for India in their away defeat against the young legged Thailand national team. Paul has been the protagonist in almost all major victories for India in the recent past. It was only his bizarre and outstanding reflexes that helped Indian team maintain a decent scoreline against Robson’s men in Bangkok.
India 2- 1 Thailand