The hosts recently took part in the WAFF Championship 2021.
India U-23 had an emphatic start to their AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers with a compelling win over Oman U-23. That helped open up Group E and gave a huge boost to the Blue Colts’ chances of qualifying for the main competition next year.
Another win over hosts UAE U-23 can more or else seal Igor Stimac’s side a place in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup. The hosts are under pressure after suffering a shock loss to Kyrgyzstan U-23 in their first qualifier. They’ll be willing to throw the kitchen sink to get a win on Wednesday.
Stimac’s side just have to maintain their calm and play as one strong unit to frustrate UAE. If they’re as clinical as they were in the last game, India could get another crucial win to take one step closer to qualifying for their first-ever AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
India Vs UAE: The Stakes
In their last four AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualification attempts, India failed to make the cut. This time, one win could guarantee them a place in the main competition. It’s a case of so close that you can almost touch it!
That’s why Stimac’s side will not want to lose out now. This UAE U-23 side are there for the taking after being defeated by Kyrgyzstan. The Indian side just have to maintain utmost concentration and not allow nerves to settle in.
If they’re just as clever and decisive with their attacking moves against UAE as they were versus Oman, they’re bound to get goals. Of course, defensively they’ll have to be even stronger. But, with potential history to be created, the players have to be motivated to grind out another win.
The UAE U-23 team have now lost their last three games. Denis Silva’s side seem to be in disarray. However, a win could reignite the fire in the squad. They face an India U-23 side who played their first game in over two years on Sunday.
As a result, the UAE side will hope to use their superior chemistry to trouble the Blue Tigers. They have enough quality to trouble their backline and make things difficult. Another loss, or even a draw, could virtually end UAE’s chances of qualifying for next year’s tournament.
With that in mind, they are desperate for a win here. UAE U-23 side has qualified for three out of four AFC U-23 Asian Cup editions so far. Being unable to do the same this time would be embarrassing. A lot is on the line for them in this game. With pressure mounting, they’ll be determined to produce a special performance to get a big win on Wednesday.
India Vs UAE: Team News
Both teams reportedly have no injury issues at the time of writing. This being an important, must-win clash for both teams, India and UAE are likely to field their best possible matchday squads.
India Vs UAE: Probable Lineups
India XI: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Asish Rai, Deepak Tangri, Narendra Gahlot, Akash Mishra, Lalengmawia, Suresh Singh, Vikram Pratap Singh, Rahul KP, Aniket Jadhav, Rahim Ali.
UAE XI: Rakan Al Menhali (GK), Yousif Al-Mheiri, Ahmed Abdulla, Faris Khalil, Eid Khamis, Mohammed Abbas, Majid Rashid, Khalid Al-Balochi, Ali Saleh, Sultan Al-Ameeri, Saeed Al-Kaabi.
India vs UAE: Player to Watch
Rahul KP (India U-23)
Rahul KP might not have been involved in any goals against Oman, but he was a real firecracker in India’s attack. The Kerala Blasters youngster tormented defenders with his impressive dribbling and created some nice chances. Rahul aims to use his cutting-edge style to torment the UAE next.
Using his clever movement, tendency to carry the ball forward and create chances, the midfielder can be a thorn for all the defenders. If Rahul’s more decisive with his final product & clinical in finishing off chances, he might easily get his first goal contribution of the qualifiers against Oman.
Ali Saleh (UAE U-23)
Ali Saleh was unable to impress in UAE U-23s’ opening game against Kyrgyzstan U-23. That being said, the Al-Wasl striker remains one of the more ‘experienced’ players on the team. Having represented his country across multiple youth levels, he knows what it takes to succeed in such tournaments.
Saleh’s a clinical forward, knowing when to get into the key scoring areas and finish off chances. He’ll aim to destabilize India’s defensive shape with his clever movement and open up areas for teammates. Saleh is hungry for goals and knowing his decisiveness, the Indian backline has to be especially sharp to keep the 21-year-old quiet.
Did You Know?
- The win over Oman U-23 was India U-23’s first competitive win since 2017, when they defeated Turkmenistan U-23 in a 2018 AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifier game.
- Vikram Pratap Singh scored his first-ever goal for India U-23 in the win over Oman.
- UAE U-23s’ loss to Kyrgyzstan U-23 was the first AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifier they lost since losing to Uzbekistan U-23 in a 2018 AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifying game.
- Incidentally, UAE couldn’t qualify for that particular edition after the loss – with it being the only year they missed out on qualifying for an AFC U-23 Asian Cup game.
The match will be played at the Fujairah Stadium, Fujairah, and kick-off at 10:00 PM IST. It will be available for streaming on the Indian Football Team’s official social media handles.