Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
14th January, 2011, 21:45 IST
India will be taking on Bahrain this Friday in the second match of the evening for group C as both teams will look to register their first win of the tournament. India and Bahrain, both tasted defeats, expectedly though;,as they were pitted in the first hurdle against the top two Asian teams in Australia and South Korea respectively. Indian fans can expect a close encounter this time around as Bahrain are also trying to find their footing in Asian football.
Team News and Strategy
Indians will walk into this match with self belief after putting up a brave display, especially in the second half, against world’s twenty sixth ranked team in their first match at the Asian level for over a quarter of a century. Bob Houghton has advocated to give rest to some of the players whom he fielded against the socceroos as, according to him, the amount of running his boys did in their first match is more than thrice the distance they usually cover in an I league match and this is bound to cause them fatigue. However, it looks like he will be fielding the same line-up that played against Australia; the only expected change might be benching the second striker and going in with an extra midfielder. Renedy Singh will get the nod to start in that case.
The Bhangra boys didn’t give up even after going down 0-3 at the half time and showed a lot of heart by keeping two forwards in the Aussie half throughout the match. Expect them to a play a similar game against their western Asian opponents, Bahrain. Chhetri will be ruing himself after he missed a golden chance to score against the Green-&-Gold and will be raring to go against Bahrain.
Bhutia has failed to recover from his injury and will miss out tomorrow’s fixture as well. This will come as a big jolt to the Indian team who were expecting at least 30- 40 minutes of action from the talismatic captain in this crucial encounter.
Defensively India will have to make serious amends especially in dealing with aerial balls through set pieces if they want to have some chances of finishing this competition with at-least a point in their kitty.
India’s Probable Formation: 4-4-1-1
Team News and Strategy
Having put in a decent show against 2002 world cup semi finalist South Korea, Bahrain will fancy coming out of this match with all three points, considering they are playing against the lowest ranked team in the completion. Having African players in their rank will give them a huge physical edge over their Indian counterparts.
Bahrain who are in their third successive Asian Cup campaign are however not taking India lightly as their coach Salman Sharida did acknowledge how organized Indians were after watching their second half performance against Australia. The request of Bahrain to replace their injured defender Hussain Baba, who suffered a hamstring injury after just 10 minutes against the Koreans, was turned down by Asian football Association. His injury might cost them dearly as he is an experienced campaigner and an inspirational figure in the Bahrain line-up.
Bahrain’s Probable Formation: 4-3-1-2
TheHardtackle’s player to watch out for:
Subrata Paul (India)
He was the difference between a respectful performance and a humiliation against the Aussies. Baring a single judgment of error, the Pune FC goalie had an exceptional game, having made some outrageous saves to keep the defeat margin restricted to only four goals. Expect him to be busy again under the woodwork of Indian goal tomorrow. He will have to put in another superb performance against Bahrain, if India expects to walk away with one point.
India 1 – 3 Bahrain
India is expected to give a better performance against Bahrain than their first outing but TheHardTackle gives the match to Bahrain after considering the performance of the western Asian team against South Korea. Poor passing and weakness to deal with aerial balls is expected to cause the downfall for Houghton’s men. Let’s see if the men in blue can salvage a draw from this and prove us wrong.