3-0 to 3-4, and now taking on a team which is one a two-game winning streak, the U-18 team has a job at hand.
India U-18 had a forgettable beginning to the 2017 SAFF U-18 Championship when they threw a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 to Bangladesh U-18 in a thrilling opening match to the tournament. The Young Colts showed signs of terrible defending at times and their lapses in concentration really cost them in the end, starting their SAFF U-18 campaign on the wrong foot.
India need to bounce back from that defeat against stubborn hosts Bhutan, who have already won their first two games of the SAFF U-18 Championships in convincing fashion. The Dragon Boys defeated both Nepal and Maldives 1-0 and have asserted themselves as a very difficult side to break down. India showed an impressive attacking game last time out, but their defensive vulnerabilities could be capitalized on by Bhutan with whom The Young Colts need to approach with caution.
This match is an extremely important one for Floyd Pinto’s side, as another loss could crush any hopes of winning the tournament and they will have to solve out their issues against this strong-minded Bhutan side, who will themselves go for the win.
India can’t really make any drastic changes to the team as it could rupture the harmony and chemistry in the squad, but the defenders need to work on their game-play in this game. Goalkeeper Parta Aditya was especially poor in the first game as he fumbled many balls and should’ve done better with the goals.
The 3-man defensive formation didn’t really work out for the Young Colts either, as the wing-backs didn’t give much defensive cover and exposed the center-backs multiple times. India will probably bring in star winger Baoringdao Bodo who missed out on the first match and hope that his presence will help them see through Bhutan.
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Bhutan showed their unbreakable resilience in the match against Nepal U-18 a few days ago when they won the match despite having only 20% possession throughout. A Late penalty from the experienced Orgyen Wangchuk sealed the deal in what was a crucial win for the hosts.
Bhutan will mostly make no changes to their team as it looks to be really good right now and will hope that their heroics can be repeated against the dangerous attacking threat of India, who have their work cut out.
HEAD TO HEAD:
India U-18 and Bhutan U-18 are yet to play a competitive match against each other, with the SAFF U-18 Championships being the first time the two meet on the football field. These two rather polarized teams will want to make it a match to remember for the spectators, as one can expect both going for the win in this important match for both the teams.
Man To Watch:
India U-18: Baoringdao Bodo
Baoringdao Bodo is probably the most experienced player in the India U-18 squad right now, with the Chennaiyin FC winger coming into the team with a full season of senior experience with him. Bodo played for Minerva Punjab in the I-League last season and made quite the impression in the 10 matches which he played for Punjab.
The tricky, electric winger will be key to adding to the clinical-ness for India U-18 and will hope to bring some composure to their game-play as well. Bodo already has 3 goals in 3 appearances for India U-18 and will hope to bring more goals with him in this crucial match for the Young Tigers.
Bhutan U-18: Orgyen Wanchuk
Much like Bodo for India, Orgyen Wanchuk is arguably the most experienced player for Bhutan U-18 right now and he is doing the host country proud in the SAFF U-18 Championships so far. Wanchuk has scored both the goals scored by the Dragon boys in the tournament and has been the core of their little attacking game in the tournament.
Wanchuk has played 16 games for Bhutanese side Trimphu City and is turning out to be a stunning goal-scorer both for country and club. He will need to showcase his clinical goal-scoring abilities in the vital match against India, as a win could take them one step further to their dream of winning the SAFF U-18 Championships.
India U-18: Aditya, Jayanda Singh, Panwar Shil, Lalliansanga, Zonunmawia, Roshan, Asish, Lalrengzama, Princeton Arnald, Bodo, Lalawmpuia.
Bhutan U-18: Bhujel, Namgay, Tshering, Thiley, Kelden Dorji, Wangchuk, Phub Dorji, Dendup, Tshewang, Sonam, Tenzin.
The match will be streamed live on Khelnow.com.