Armed Forces Ground, Kathmandu
15.15 IST , 3rd September 2013
India and Bangladesh face each other after contrasting fortunes in their opening fixtures in SAFF Cup. South Asian powerhouse India labored to a one – nil win over arch rivals Pakistan in an unimpressive display, while Bangladesh tasted defeat by 2 goals against Nepal in their fixtures. 3 points must have given India a head start, but they were expected to do much more and will be looking forward to making amends against Bangladesh before taking on Nepal in the crucial tie.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Even though India registered an expected win against Pakistan, Wim Koevermans will have a lot of questions to ponder after that lack-luster display. Debutant Nallappan Mohanraj found himself out of place in many occasions while young prodigy Alwyn George had to be replaced after 45 minutes of being a passenger. Both of them can be excused cause of their lack of international exposure, but will anyone be able to justify the poor display by skipper Sunil Chettri in front of goal?
Rather than dwelling on the previous outing, the team should move forward to the upcoming outing against Bangladesh. Goalkeeper Subrata Pal had a good outing after a long gap and staked enough claims to continue behind the bars. The Indians’ defensive performances were much better compared to their attacking counterparts, and most of them automatically select themselves for the next outing as well. Gouramangi Singh and Arnab Mondal are expected to shield Subrata at the heart of Indian defense. Nirmal Chettri played a huge role in India’s win yesterday and hence will retain his spot as well. Mohanraj’s error prone display, especially in contrast with Nabi’s energetic game means that the latter experienced campaigner is favorite to start on the left side of Indian defense.
In midfield Mehtab Hussain and Lenny Fernandez will continue to dictate the teams. Francis Fernandez was the best Indian player against Pakistan and is likely to torment Bangladeshi defense on the right side of midfield. Allwyn George might find himself on bench making way for either Jewel Raja or Arata Izumi as he looked out of depth on some occasions against Pakistan.
Even though Indian strikers failed to find the net against Pakistan, they will be expected to take field again on Tuesday. Skipper Chettri, despite missing a handful of chances the other day he still carries the biggest threat in Indian attacks. Jeje, despite starting from a left attacking role, was instrumental in India’s build up game and is likely to retain his place at the expense of Robin Singh.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Subrata Pal; Rahim Nabi, Gouramangi Singh, Arnab Mondal, Nirmal Chettri; Jewel Raja Shaikh, Mehtab Hussain, Lenny Rodriguez, Francis Fernandes; Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sunil Chettri
Bangladesh will be looking to bounce back from their opening day defeat by Nepal by orchestrating an upset against favorites India. Bangladesh looked out of depth from the start and were overrun by an impressive Nepali side the other day. Bangladesh coach Lodewijk De Kruif lamented on the terrible mistakes made by his defenders for their defeat and this defensive unit needs to step up big time to further their stay in SAFF Cup.
Nepal’s profligacy in-front of goal, coupled with a good performance from goalkeeper Mamun Kahn kept the score-line at a respectable two-nil at the end of 90 minutes. Mamun will be expecting another tough outing against the Indians and will be hoping for a better performance from his defenders.
The absence of skipper Nasirudhin Chowdhary and star striker Shakhwat Hossain Rony seems to have affected Bangladesh’s performance against the home team. The duo’s return might boost their chances against India. They will also be happy that they do not have to face the same intimidating atmosphere when they come up against India, as they are hardly likely to enjoy the same support as the home team. If Bangladesh can learn from their mistakes, maintain their second-half performances which raised some questions on Nepal the other day, we might be in for some surprise.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Mamun Khan; Raihan Hassan, Mohammed Wali Faisal, N. Chowdhary, Mohammed Ariful Islam; Jamal Bhuyan, Mobarak Hussain Bhyan, Omar Faruqque Babu, Mohammed Zahid Hussain; Mithun Chowdhary, Mohammed Shakawat Hussain Rony.
Players to Watch Out For
Francis Fernandez – Francis Fernandez has developed into India’s best winger in recent times with some impressive displays. He was a constant threat for the Pakistani defense the other day and would like to carry that momentum and form against Bangladesh as well. His pace and wing play needs to be kept in check if the Bangladeshis are dreaming of any upset.
Mamun Khan – The Bangladeshi goalkeeper was impressive against Nepal in the opening day despite his team losing by two goals. Mamun came to the rescue of Bangladesh on several occasions throughout the match and will have an even tougher job if India find their rhythm. Mamun will have a big role to play if Bangladesh hope to defeat the South Asian giants.
After registering contrasting results in the first match of SAFF Cup, both teams would be looking forward to a triumph for various reasons. India needs a convincing win to silence their critics while Bangladesh is almost on the verge of an early exit if they cannot get the better of Indian Football Team. India needs to be more clinical in front of goal to ascertain their supremacy while Bangladesh will be hoping to keep their defence intact to conquer the opposition in quick counter attacks. TheHardTackle predicts another win for India against their neighbors.