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India Vs Bangladesh Preview: Will Igor Stimac finally play his attacking cards?

Published at :October 14, 2019 at 10:46 PM
Modified at :November 5, 2019 at 5:44 PM
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Punit Tripathi

Both sides are yet to register their first wins in Round 2 of the Qualifiers.

India are set to play their third FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Round 2 match against Bangladesh on October 15 at the capacious Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. The India Vs Bangladesh match will be the Blue Tigers’ second home game of the round, having narrowly lost the first one against Oman 1-2 in Guwahati in the first week of September.

India, ever since new head coach Igor Stimac has been handed the reigns, have thwarted Qatar from scoring on their home soil and led Oman for 81 minutes, giving enough proof of their enhanced quality under the Croatian. The only worry that still remains is the goalscoring, with 35-year-old talisman Sunil Chhetri still being the foremost and most consistent option.

The Blue Tigers will go into the encounter on the back of a 1-1 draw they played against NorthEast United FC on October 9. Meanwhile, their opponents recently lost to Qatar 2-0 in a well-fought encounter and the home team must be wary of the neighbours.

Live Updates from match here [KH_ADWORDS type="3" align="center"][/KH_ADWORDS]

Coaches' Corner

Igor Stimac (India)

“They (Bangladesh) have their dream as well. They didn’t come here to lose the game, but win it. Do not provoke a lion. They gained enormously in recent times. They have won seven out of the thirteen games under their new coach. They are a organized, disciplined side," the Indian football team head coach said in the pre-match press conference.

Read the entire press conference report here. Jamie Day (Bangladesh)

"It’s going to be a tough game. The aim tomorrow is to come away with some points, be it one or three,” Jamie Day said.

Read the entire press conference report here.

About The Teams


The home side have earned just one point in two games in the qualification round so far, but have already played one game each against arguably the two most difficult teams in the group. India’s hopes to qualify linger on victories in the games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

India will be without defender Sandesh Jhingan due to an ACL injury he suffered against NorthEast United in the friendly encounter. Jeje Lalpekhlua may be back for Chennaiyin FC, but is yet to be called-up to the national team by Stimac. Amarjit Singh Kiyam is still recuperating from his elbow injury and will need three more weeks to be back to training. Thus, Stimac will need to make a few tweaks to ensure his team performs at the level he wants.

Against Bangladesh, India can be expected to play a more attacking style and to create chances more than in the last two fixtures. The combination of Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes and Sunil Chhetri will be expected to deliver the goods, with Udanta Singh running down the wings at pace and creating difficulty in the wide spaces. It will be an extravagant outing for India, with a lot of fans hoping for their attacking wings to unfurl against the neighbours.


FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: India Vs Bangladesh Tactical Preview


The neighbours may be ranked 187th in the current rankings, but clearly punch above their weight time and again. A right pass, a timely finish and a better touch in front of goal here and their fortunes could’ve been very different. The team showed immense bravery against the 2019 AFC Asian Cup champions and with a little more luck, could make life difficult for India.

Under head coach Jamie Day, the Red-and-Green also fell to a close 1-0 defeat against Afghanistan in the first round of games in these qualifiers and are the only team in the group without a point. The only team they have beaten from the group previously is Afghanistan, defeating them 1-0 in 2008.

Bangladesh recently defeated Bhutan 2-0 in a friendly, and had defeated Laos 1-0 to qualify for Round 2 of the World Cup Qualifiers.

India Vs Bangladesh Tactics


India Vs Bangladesh Predicted lineup

India Vs Bangladesh Probable Lineup

India will play with a back four and after having spent some time with the Indian contingent already, young Narender Gahlot should be in the scheme of things. Now that Rahul Bheke is back on the team bus, he’s set to play a role alongside Adil Khan, who is certain to start in the defensive half. If Narender starts at centre-back, Bheke would be the right-back, subject to his fitness, or Pritam Kotal could start. Anas Edathodika, who’s returned from retirement, could play a role in central defence as well.

On the left, Mandar Rao Dessai could be expected to start given his love for attacking the wide space. Vinit Rai and Anirudh Thapa will form a pairing in central midfield, a duo that has played a lot of football together at the age-group levels for India. Brandon may start down the left, but the first-choice could be Ashique Kuruniyan, Bengaluru FC’s new signing. Sahal at No. 10, Udanta down the right and Chhetri up top pick themselves.

Alternative Tactics India Vs Bangladesh alternative lineup

India Vs Bangladesh: Alternate Lineup

If India look for fluidity in the build-up, Brandon could be given a starting role. The hosts would also want Thapa to drop his defensive hat for a more creative, attacking character. Both Bheke and Mandar, too, will be expected to make inroads.

Chhetri will drop deep and India could also play a two-striker system, with Chhetri moving to the left and Manvir Singh starting up top. The FC Goa striker gave a great account of his ball-holding abilities in the goalless draw against Qatar and should be rewarded with some game-time.


Bangladesh play the 4-4-2 formation under English tactician Jamie Day, with captain Jamal Bhuyan at the centre of the scheme on the pitch. At 29, the midfielder is at the peak of his powers. Hardworking and robust, Bhuyan breaks down opposition play regularly and can chip in with key passes at critical junctures of the game. Thapa and Vinit will need to keep an eye on him.

India Vs Bangladesh probable lineup of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Probable Lineup against India

The team play typical English football – they attack down the wings and sit back centrally to cramp space for the opposition. The centre-backs are sensible, young, physical and can play with the ball at their feet. India must be wary of their passes too. Hence, some pressing must also be put into action.

Strikers Jibon and Saad have a relationship that is starting to blossom. Jibon has played 23 times for the national team, scoring four goals. Saad Uddin, too, has played regularly and is likely to give Indian defenders some worry with his pace and trickery.

Probable Lineups

India: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Anas Edathodika, Adil Khan, Mandar Rao Dessai, Vinit Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri ©.

Bangladesh: Ashraful (GK), Raihan, Rahmat, Yeasin, Badsha, Biplo, Jamal ©, Ibrahim, Sohel, Saad, Jibon.

Players To Watch

Brandon Fernandes (India): Bangladesh are expected to sit deep and to break them down, India need to play their most creative playmaker, who has the experience of breaking such defences. Fernandes has time and again found a running teammate at FC Goa and should be the ideal choice to find a runner in the opposition box for India as well. Brandon, if played, can be the key to unlock the stiff Bangladeshi backline.

Saad Uddin – At 21, he’s one of the fastest in the team and has operated as a winger in the past. It wouldn’t be shocking if Saad uses the space behind Mandar regularly and the tussle could get interesting if that happens. He’s also got a smart shot on him, making good use of small pockets of space.

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What To Expect

An Indian victory. If the Blue Tigers play expansively and make the most of the chances they get, scoring three times should not be a major issue. The conditions will suit the players from both teams, so a solitary goal on the counter from Bangladesh should not be ruled out.

India Vs Bangladesh Telecast

The match will be played at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on October 15 and will be streamed LIVE on the Star Sports Network from 7:30 PM IST.