The Blue Tigers were held to a 1-1 draw by the hosts in the previous match earlier this week.
India received a reality check in their first of the two international friendly matches Vs Nepal, stuttering to a 1-1 draw. The Blue Tigers were relatively overwhelmed by the spirited Gorkhalis on Thursday. Igor Stimac’s men looked far from convincing, and they would look to redeem themselves in the next encounter on Sunday.
A win can boost the confidence of the squad and also reflect nicely on India’s FIFA ranking points. However, anything but a win will raise more questions on Stimac’s continuity as the head coach. With this game being the final one before the SAFF Championship in October, the India will look to oust Nepal and head back home with some momentum on their side.
Barely managing a draw against Nepal – who are much behind them in the FIFA Rankings – is poor from the Indian football team. The Blue Tigers didn’t look hungry or eager enough to win the game and were evenly matched by their hard-working opponents in the last game. Repeating some of the same could cause a bigger disaster on Sunday.
Stimac has to motivate his boys into playing to their best potential in the next game. This includes controlling more of the possession and creating better chances. India arguably has more quality in their squad than Nepal. They just have to blank out the roar of the opposition fans and concentrate on their own game.
Despite it being a friendly, a lot will be decided based on this game. Not being able to win it will raise doubts on not only Igor Stimac, but the players’ abilities as well. The Blue Tigers have to prove they’re at least good enough to defeat teams from the subcontinent. That involves playing more decisive attacking football and not making silly mistakes to give away chances to Nepal.
For the Gorkhalis, the last draw would have felt as big as a win. However, they know that there’s a chance to get that win as long as they’re more clinical enough. Nepal created a bulk of the chances in the last game, but were not able to finish them off.
As long as manager Abdullah Almutairi can improve their finishing aspect, the Gorkhalis can cause even more trouble Vs India. Playing as the underdogs, Nepal will aim to trifle India with their spirited style and try to get an even bigger result on Sunday.
Nepal didn’t suffer any injury issues in their draw Vs India. However, they could decide to change a few things up to improve their attacking threat in Sunday’s game.
Similarly, the Blue Tigers also didn’t suffer any injuries in the draw. However, Sahal Abdul Samad suffered a knock in training and will sit out for Sunday’s clash. Igor Stimac will most likely change a few names in the squad and give opportunities to other players in this one.
Nepal: Kiran Limbu (GK); Gautam Shrestha, Ananta Tamang, Pujan Uperkoti, Suman Aryal; Dinesh Rajbanshi, Tej Tamang, Suman Lama; Anjan Bista, Nawayug Shrestha, Manish Dangi
India: Amrinder Singh (GK); Rahul Bheke, Chinglensana Singh, Subhashish Bose, Ashish Mishra; Lalengmawia, Glan Martins; Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Liston Colaco; Sunil Chhetri.
Man to Watch
Anjan Bista (Nepal)
Anjan Bista perhaps embodied Nepal’s spirit in the last game. He ran his socks off through the 90 minutes, terrorizing Rahul Bheke in the first half and showing impressive instincts to score the goal. Bista’s movement, trickery on the ball and clinical aspects make him a daunting figure for the Blue Tigers.
He will want to continue his good work by running at the Indian defence, creating space for teammates and sending in quality crosses into the area. Bista’s goal-scoring threat means he must be marked sharply inside the box or else the winger can repeat his heroics from Thursday to get involved in more goals in the next game.
Sunil Chhetri (India)
The Indian skipper had a relatively difficult game against Nepal on Thursday. Not only was he heavily marked by defenders, but the lack of delivery into the final third didn’t help either. However, the Indian captain is not one to back down. He should bounce back from that game strongly and play in a more spirited fashion in the second friendly.
If Rahim Ali plays alongside him and provide more cover in the attack, Chhetri could terrorize Nepal’s defenders on Sunday. Chhetri has been highly successful in playing against Nepal in his career so far (five goals against them). As long as he gets ample delivery in the final third, Chhetri could cause up a riot in the attack.
Did you know?
- The draw of Nepal Vs India was their first against the Blue Tigers since March 2015, when they held the Blue Tigers to a 0-0 draw in a FIFA World cup qualifier.
- Anirudh Thapa’s goal against Nepal was his third International goal and first one since 2019, when he scored in India’s first win under Igor Stimac in the 1-0 win over Thailand.
- India have only won two times in 17 matches under Stimac, having only a 12.5% winning ratio since he took charge.
The second Nepal Vs India friendly will be streamed live on Indian Football Team’s official Facebook page.