Dasarath Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal
Kick off ai??i?? 2:45 PM IST
“We started well, even after we conceded the goal. We didn’t do what we had planned and expected. Strikers didn’t do their job. This is a young side. We are building this team and to build a good side, it takes time. Chhetri is recovering from the injury that he sustained in SAFF Championship last year. He isn’t still match fit. We will try to play good game against DPR Korea. I am not happy with the policy that our FA has adopted regarding foreign strikers in the team. I think the Clubs in India should just allow Clubs to hire one foreign striker. Back our home, we have problem finding good strikers. All I-League Clubs have two foreign strikers in the team. We don’t get good strikers if this continues in India.“- Savio Medeira taking out hisAi??frustrationAi??after India crashed out of AFC Challenge.
This has been India’s story in the tournament so far.
A potential mismatch is on the cards, as the 2010 World Cup participants and 2010 AFC Challenge Cup Champions, DPR Korea, take on the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup Champions, India. A lot was expected from the young Indian team but having come up short on all fronts, the team faces a daunting task against overwhelming favourites DPR Korea, who have already qualified for the semifinals.
A lot of Indian Football pundits were hoping that India would face DPR Korea in the finals and the enthusiastic buildup to the tournament involving a camp in Dubai and international fixtures against Oman and Azerbaijan only added to the hype. With India out of the race for the semifinals, only pride is at stakeAi?? for the Savio’s lads, who will look to end the campaign on a high and give their faithful fans something to cheer about.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Savio MedeiraAi??and his lads will look to put in a inspired performance after losing both the matches by a identical 2-0 margin againstAi??TajikistanAi??andAi??Philippines. A leaky defense, a young midfield and a non existent forward line has been the story of the Indians so far, and Savio’s strange team selection has only added to the miseries.
The defense line has leaked in four goals and almost 3 of those 4 have been due to the mistakes of the Indian back four. Sameer Naik, in an attempt to move forward, has neitherAi??contributedAi??offensively nor has been able do do his defensive duties. In fact all the four goals have come from the right hand side of the Indian team, where Naik has been time and again beaten by the pace of the opposition strikers and Nirmal Chettri should be given a chance to prove his worth after being unceremoniouslyAi??dropped despite the good showing in the SAFF cup.Ai??GouramangiAi??Singh has been a lone warrior for the Blue tigers but has found little support from the young Raju Gaikwad but the duo is set to retain its place as Savio will look to life ahead of the AFC Challenge Cup and Raju is an integral part of that plan. Ai??Mr. Versatile Rahim Nabi has been impressive in both the matches and has looked to form an understanding with Francis on the left flank.
Jewel Raja was again left on the bench by Savio but was inducted in the first half, replacing the misfiring Adil Khan and he had an immediate impact as the Indians started to see more of the ball. Rochus Lamare has been the only spotlight for the otherwise disappointing Indian midfield and he put in another splendid performance. The Salgaocar midfielder was lively over the entire 90 minutes and looks all set to replace Climax Lawrence and the Jewel-Lamare duo look all set to start the match. Vashum proved to be a much effective player in comparison to AnthonyAi??Pereira and though he scuffed an easyAi??opportunity after being set up by Joachim Abranches he is likely to be given another chance. Injuries to Clifford Miranda andAi??Lalrindika Ralte have meant an extended run for Francis but he has not been able to make most of the opportunities despite putting in his best in both the matches and Savio will look to give fit agian Ralte a run in this match.
Sunil Chettri has cut a sorry figure in both the matches missing sitters both against Tajaks andAi??Philippines. Despite getting only limited supply from the midfielders, Sunil has failed to take his chances and one wonders if time is running out for the new poster boy of Indian Football to perform.Ai??Joachim AbranchesAi??performedAi??admirably against Philippines setting up Vashum with an easy chance which he missed.Ai??Joachim even dropped to the right flank once Vashum was taken off and was one of the few positives for the Blue Tigers. Sushil Kumar set up Chhetri with a easy chance afterAi??bulldozingAi??his way through the Philippines defense, but once again will have to sit out asAi??Joachim looks all set to start after an inspiring performance.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Karanjit(GK); Nirmal , Gaikwad, Gourmangi, Nabi; Vashum, Jewel, Rocus, Ralte; Abranches, Chhetri.
The 2010 Defending Champions are through to the semifinals, having defeated Tajikistan and Philippines by an identical margin of 2-0 despite the fact that some of the European based stars including star striker Jong Tae-Se are missing from the action. Goal-keeper Ri Myong-Guk and experienced defender and captain Ri Kwang-Chon have ensured that DPR Korea have not leaked even a single goal in the tournament so far. 18 year old MidfilederAi??Kuk-Chol Jang has scored in both the games and is anAi??excitingAi??talent for the Koreans. The two namesakes, Pak Nam-Chol I and Pak Nam-Chol II, have scored in either of the games and will be relishing the oppurtunity to play against a relatively weak Indian defense.
ManagerAi??Yun Jong-Su will look to give some of his fringe players a chance but he will surely keep an eye on retaining the winning momentum as well. Koreans are known to deploy an attacking 4-3-3 formation, which willAi??definitely trouble the Indians. The way theAi??KoreansAi??have dominated theAi??proceedings in both the matches is amazing and justifies their tag of the pre-tournament front runners .Ai??This is what the coach Yun Jong-Su had to say after the victory against Tajaksitan.
“We knew this match against Tajikistan would be decisive and that if we won it we would progress to the next stage. I thought that the players were excellent today and they did their jobs very well. The main objective was to win and we achieved that but when the players don’t do well or make mistakes then we will analyse this before the next match.“
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3):Ai??Ri Myong-Guk(GK); Jon Kwang-Ik, Ri Kwang-Chon, Ai??Ri Kwang-Hyok, Pak Nam-Chol; Pak Nam-Chol, Jang Kuk-Chol, Ri Chol-Myong; Jang Myong, Pak Song-Chol, Jong Il-Gwan
TheHardTackleai??i??s Men To Watch Out For
Joachim Abranches (India),
Pak Nam-Chol(DPR Korea)
Joachim Abranches will look to carry his good form and score India’s first goal in the tournament. The Dempo youngster finally looks to have come of age while the ever impressiveAi??Pak Nam-Chol will look to lead the Korean midfield and ensure another 3 points for the war-torn nation.
India 1-3 DPR Korea
TheHardTackle predicts another easy victory for DPR Korea and hopefully Indians will look to score a goal and end their goal-drought in the tournament.
TheHardTackleai??i??s Blast from the Past
The Blue Tigers faced the Koreans in AFC Challenge 2010 when the Koreans defeated the then U-23 Indian side 3-0. Ai??A host of current Indian players featured in that match includingAi??Karanjit Singh, Nirmal Chettri, Sushil Kumar, Jewel Raja and Ai??Joachim Abranches which indicates the young age of the current Indian team. DPR Korea have history on their side as they have never lost to India, winning 5 out of 6 matches played between the two nations.