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Syria vs India: Three key battles to watch out for in AFC Asian Cup tie

Published at :January 22, 2024 at 12:34 AM
Modified at :January 22, 2024 at 12:35 AM
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Atawaris Warsi


The Blue Tigers are yet to score a goal in AFC Asian Cup 2023.

The Indian football team’s disappointing performance in the AFC Asian Cup 2023, losing to Australia and Uzbekistan, raises concerns about their knockout round chances. Having conceded five goals and scored none, the Blue Tigers face an uphill battle in their upcoming match against Syria. 

Syria, boasting exceptional talents, poses a formidable challenge for India. The Syrian team’s skilled players possess the ability to exploit the weaknesses in the Indian defense. As the fate of the Blue Tigers hangs in the balance, the synergy of Syria’s outstanding talents may further diminish India’s prospects in the tournament. The impending clash against Syria is pivotal.

Let’s have a look on the key battles in this fixture:

3. Naorem Mahesh Singh vs Abdul Rahman Oues

Mahesh Singh’s ability to exploit the wings effectively will be crucial for Team India. (Courtesy: AFC)

The Indian National Football team’s struggle to score in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 emphasises the concerning state of their attack, with star prospect Mahesh Singh failing to make an impact on the wings. The upcoming match against Syria poses a daunting challenge, particularly with Syria’s robust defence showcased in their matches against Uzbekistan and Australia. 

In particular, Abdul Rahman Oues has emerged as a standout player for Syria, displaying exceptional defensive skills that troubled both Uzbekistan’s and Australia’s formidable front line. This raises doubts about Mahesh Singh’s ability to exploit the wings effectively. The encounter with Abdul Rahman Oues presents a formidable obstacle for Mahesh Singh, adding to the complexities faced by the struggling Blue Tigers in their quest for success in the AFC Asian Cup.

2. Anirudh Thapa vs Jalil Elías

Anirudh Thapa Hero Tri-Nation Tournament Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023
Thapa is the key to connect India’s midfield with attack.

India’s struggle to establish a connection between the midfield and attackers in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 has been a notable weakness. Anirudh Thapa would shoulder the crucial responsibility of bridging this gap against Syria, aiming to enhance the team’s ability to create opportunities. However, Syria’s defensive strength, embodied by Jalil Elías, presents a challenge for Thapa. 

Jalil, a robust and resilient defensive midfielder for Syria, is poised to disrupt Thapa’s efforts in orchestrating the midfield and linking up with the attackers. The midfield battle between Thapa and Elias becomes pivotal in determining India’s success in breaking through Syria’s defence and creating scoring opportunities. 

1. Sandesh Jhingan vs Omar Khribin

Sandesh Jhingan’s leadership at the back will be pivotal for the team.

Sandesh Jhingan’s imposing presence in India’s opening AFC Asian Cup 2023 game against Australia showcased his defensive prowess. However, his challenges against a fast and agile Uzbekistan side revealed vulnerabilities in India’s defence. The upcoming clash against Syria, featuring the talented Khirbin, promises a tough test for Jhingan and the Indian defence. 

Khribin, known for his impact in the second half, presents a threat to India’s backline. The battle between Jhingan and Khirbin is anticipated to be intense, with the Syrian talent aiming to exploit any weaknesses in India’s defence. As both players prepare to face off, the contest promises to be tough yet exciting, adding an intriguing element to India’s defensive strategy against Syria in the AFC Asian Cup 2023.

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