The Blue Tigers will hope to complete their preparation for the upcoming matches.

India are all set to face Jordan in their final international friendly before the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers next month. The match against Zambia was canceled as the Football Association of Zambia called off the game due to the unavailability of players. Now, with less than a day to prepare, Igor Stimac’s men must ramp up their efforts to make the most out of this preparatory match.

Coming to FIFA rankings, India are ranked 106th whereas Jordan are at 91. With a gap of more than ten places, India will be up against seasoned opponents and must look to nullify their threat.

Jordan Vs India: The Stakes

India’s head coach Igor Stimac had set up a good lineup of games for his players in preparation for the Asian Cup Qualifiers in June. This game is the last international friendly they intend to play, having already battled the likes of ATK Mohun Bagan and I-League All-Stars. However, their last game against Zambia was called off due to Zambia’s unavailability of players. That obviously led to a disruption in the training phase and it will be interesting to see how the Croatian has conditioned his players to make the most out of this match. 

India last scored in their international friendly against Bahrain through Rahul Bheke. Although they went on to lose that match, there were patches of brilliance shown by the Blue Tigers. Stimac will be hoping for his forwards to fire on all their cylinders, now that captain Sunil Chhetri is back to lead the line.

For Jordan, this is their penultimate friendly before they play Australia on 1st June and then move on to the Asian Cup Qualifiers. Their campaign starts off against Nepal and they will be hoping to prep their squad to the best of their capabilities through these friendlies.

The Chivalrous have had less luck in their World Cup Qualifiers, as they only won against Nepal.  However, their last match was a 3-1  win against New Zealand in a friendly. Chief tactician Adnan Hamad will be looking forward to fielding a strong eleven as he aims for a victory.

Jordan Vs India: Team News

India have a 25-member squad for this game. Stimac will have the likes of Glan Martins, Ritwik Das, Udanta Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Wangjam, andYasir Mohammad in midfield. The Blue Tigers lost Chhetri’s valuable strike partner, Rahim Ali and V.P Suhair to injury in the earlier stages.

Though the Croatian head coach was all praises for the duo, Ishan Pandita has been given the chance to shine in their absence. Most importantly Sunil Chhetri’s return to the Indian football team has been confirmed after a six-month hiatus. 

Adnan Hamad’s men are also most likely to be in full strength for the clash in Doha. With Bahaa Faisal the only absentee due to his ruptured ACL, Jordan are well equipped with all of their starters. The manager will want to exceed his Indian counterpart by fielding a strong starting lineup.

Jordan Vs India: Head-to-Head

India and Jordan met in 2018 for the first time and the match ended in a 2-1 win for the Middle Eastern nation. Nishu Kumar was the lone goalscorer for the Blue Tigers on that occasion. Stimac will want to better that record as he would like his team to step up and articulate their improvements. 

Jordan Vs India: Probable Lineups

India: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Roshan Singh, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Akash Mishra; Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh; Sahal Abdul Samad, Liston Colaco; Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri.

Jordan: Yazid Abu Layla (GK); Mohannad Khairullah, Mohammad Al-Dmeiri, Yazan Al-Arab, Ihsan Haddad; Yaseen Al-Bakhit, Sharara, Baha’ Abdel-Rahman; Yazan Al-Naimat, Ali Olwan, Hamza Al-Dardour.

Players to watch

Sunil Chhetri (India)

Sunil Chhetri
Chhetri returns to the India squad for the first time since the SAFF Championships in October (Courtesy: AIFF Media)

India will be looking to their talismanic goalscorer to get the proceedings started in a tough fixture. With the likes of Liston Colaco and Manvir getting into dangerous positions with an occasional shot on goal, Chhetri will have more space than usual. If he can combine with the natural wingers, he’s sure to be able to generate some genuine chances.

The Blue Tigers have desperately missed his presence as Manvir Singh has been fielded as the lone forward. Despite being a pacy and strong forward, Singh is not exactly a hold-up player and struggled to replicate his club form. Chhetri’s return will not only signal a revival of goals but more freedom for the right-footed attacker to operate on the flanks.

Hamza Al Dardour (Jordan)

Hamza Al-Dardour
Al-Dardour is the all-time highest scorer for Jordan with 32 goals (Courtesy: Instagram/@hamza_dardor)

Hamza Al Dardour has been Adnan Hamad’s secret weapon on more than one occasion now. The experienced Jordanian last scored against Palestine in Jordan’s 5-1 victory in the FIFA Arab Cup. However, his qualities are more than enough to stir up trouble for the Indian centre-backs.

Though both Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, and Pritam Kotal are all composed defenders, they have struggled against Middle Eastern forwards time and again. All of that is down to their positioning and lightning speed while breaking away. Stimac must be wary of Al-Dardour’s threat and set up his players accordingly to deal with him.

Did You Know?

  • This is the second time India will be playing Jordan.
  • Jordan’s most-capped player and former goalkeeper Amer Shafi scored from a spectacular drop-kick against India in their last friendly.
  • Forward Hamza Al-Dardour is the country’s all-time top goalscorer with 32 goals in 93 appearances.

Telecast

The match between India and Jordan will take place at the Suheim Bin Hamad (Qatar SC) Stadium, Doha, Qatar. The game will kick off at 9:30 pm IST. Like they did with the previous friendlies, AIFF will stream the feed on its Facebook page.

For more football updates, follow Khel Now on Twitter, Instagram and join our community on Telegram.