India will be hoping to get their first win of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers when they welcome Bangladesh to Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.
The action continues to come thick and fast in the international break and the focus shifts to Asia for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers. The bottom two teams in Group E will be in action on Tuesday, when India play hosts to Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, looking for the first win of their campaign.
The results might not be entirely reflecting it, but India have made steady progress under the tutelage of Igor Stimac. The same has been evident in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, as a 2-1 home loss to Oman was seen as a major disappointment before they held Asian champions Qatar to a goalless draw last month.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, are yet get their first points on the board in their qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup 2022. The Red and Green have been on the wrong end of the result in each of their two fixtures thus far, having failed to score a single goal, although there were some positive signs on show in their 2-0 loss to Qatar.
India and Bangladesh played out a 2-2 draw the last time they faced each other. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
India have been handed a major blow ahead of their latest international fixture. Senior defender Sandesh Jhingan will be unavailable for the visit of Bangladesh, after picking up a knee injury that has sidelined for the foreseeable future, including the entirety of the forthcoming Indian Super League.
Anas Edathodika, back for selection after coming out of retirement, is likely to replace Jhingan at the heart of India’s defence, with Adil Khan being his central defensive partner. Meanwhile, there is some good news, with Rahul Bheke passed fit after initially being ruled out of the contest due to an injury.
Bheke, though, could make way for Pritam Kotal, who will start as the right-back for India, with Mandar Rao Desai lining up on the opposite flank. Dessai will hold the key for the hosts on the left flank with his creative output in the final third.
Up ahead in midfield, Anirudh Thapa should have Vinit Rai for company, with Rowllin Borges suspended after picking two yellow cards so far. Thapa will be tasked with providing cover to the backline and set the tempo of the game, while Rai will be looking to make smooth transitions from defence to attack.
Sahal Abdul Samad will likely reprise the no. 10 role once again and will provide the creative thrust in the final third. Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan ought to be the two wide men, who will support India captain Sunil Chhetri, who is expected to return to the side after missing out against Qatar. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the hero against Qatar, will take his place in goal once again.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gurpreet, Kotal, Anas, Adil Khan, Dessai; Thapa, Rai; Udanta Singh, Samad, Ashique Kuruniyan, Chhetri
Jamie Day does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to Kolkata to take on India. The Bangladesh head coach should line his side up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with the Red and Green looking to play a counter-attacking style of football.
Ashraful Islam Rana will likely be deployed between the sticks ahead of Shahidul Yousuf Sohel and the uncapped Anisur Rahman. Rahmat Mia and Raihan Hasan should be the full-back pairing for Bangladesh, with the duo holding the key during counters, as they will be tasked with providing the creativity from the flanks.
Yeasin Khan is the experienced figure in defence, with young defender Riyadul Hasan Rafi starting to establish himself as the 25-year-old’s central defensive partner. Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuyan will reprise the Anchor Man role, holding the fort in front of the defence and looking to curb the influence of Sahal Abdul Samad.
Mohammad Ibrahim and Sohel Rana will provide the creative thrust in the final third, with Saad Uddin and Biplu Ahmed being the two wingers. Experienced striker Nabib Newaz Ziban will lead the line for Bangladesh against India.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Ashraful; Rahmat Mia, Yeasin Khan, Riyadul, Raihan; Bhuyan; Uddin, Rana, Ibrahim, Biplu Ahmed; Ziban
- Tuesday will see India and Bangladesh lock horns for the 29th time. In the 28 previous meetings, India have won 15 times, while being on the losing end of the result just twice (D11).
- In fact, the Blue Tigers are unbeaten in each of their last 11 meetings with Bangladesh (D6 L5).
- Bangladesh are yet to score a goal in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, losing their two games by scorelines of 1-0 and 2-0.
- India are without a win in each of their last five fixtures, stretching back to July this year (D2 L3).
- Sunil Chhetri has scored 20 goals in his last 20 matches for India stretching back to 2016, including 7 strikes in 8 outings so far this year.
Player to Watch
Sahal Abdul Samad
All eyes are invariably on India’s captain and talisman Sunil Chhetri when India take the field. But, of late, there are a few other players who are starting to raise their game and take the responsibility in the final third. One such player is Sahal Abdul Samad.
The Indian Super League (ISL) Emerging Player of the Season and AIFF’s Emerging Footballer of the Year for 2018-19 is starting to become the creative force for India under Igor Stimac, which only bodes well for the goalscoring abilities of Chhetri.
And, with a suspect Bangladesh defence being his next hurdle, Samad has the chance to run rings around the neighbours and pave the way for India’s first win in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers. A big game for a player who is on a meteoric rise.
India 2-0 Bangladesh
India might be on a bit of a winless run. But, they remain a dangerous proponent at home, particularly with emerging players like Sahal Abdul Samad starting to carve out a name for themselves in international football. Bangladesh, though, are not a side to be taken lightly, despite their lowly ranking.
India will need to be wary of their neighbours on the counter, although with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal, they can expect to keep a second successive clean sheet. Expect a keenly contested affair, albeit one in which the hosts should come out on top.
The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for the Blue Tigers, getting their first win of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers Second Round-cum-AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers.