News Article

India seek perfect 10 against St. Kitts and Nevis

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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The Blue Tigers have won nine games in a row and will look to complete the set against the Caribbean outfit...

The Indian team is on a roll and looks set to continue the trend against St. Kitts & Nevis on Thursday. The Blue Tigers won their last game against Mauritius on Saturday 2-1, courtesy of goals from Super-Singhs Robin and Balwant in both halves of the 90. The National Team plays the American Islanders before a key AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Macau on 5th September.

The team started off on a slow note, typical to their gameplay in every international outing the Blue Tigers come out in. The team, finally, grew into the game only after conceding a goal. Talking about the same, manager Stephen Constantine had said, ““I don’t like it when we give other teams a head-start. We are not the kind of team who can afford to give teams a goal lead and then start playing.”

When the manager speaks up about his team’s obvious frailties it means that it’s either too bad already, or it is set to be taken care of. For that, India must play ‘ball-players’ in the center of the pitch, which seems to be lacking due to Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s diminishing abilities on the ball. Rowlin Borges played parallel and ahead of Lyngdoh for most of the game against Mauritius and gave a good account of himself, providing three pinpoint through-balls, which were chances. Borges also provided the assist for Robin Singh’s opener.

India Vs St. Kitts and Nevis Video Preview (Courtesy: The Corner)

Expected XI

Knowing Constantine’s methods, he will likely start with the same XI, with Robin or Jeje Lalpekhlua or both making way for Balwant and Manvir Singh. The defense and the midfield is expected to walk into the playing XI yet again, with Md. Rafiquisng the only possible option coming in place of Lyngdoh. That move, though, will see Borges’ attacking duties being curbed a little.

The team looked menacing in the last eight minutes of the game as Balwant and Manvir played like the first line of defense, something which is not provided when Lalpekhlua and Robin are on the pitch. Naming it ‘gegenpressing’ would be too imaginative, but the substitute pair did their share of hard-work in the final third and that helped the midfield with a little more space to operate. Also, it kept the tired defenders on their toes. Exactly for the ‘tired’ point, Constantine would be expecting the trick to work again and young Manvir will be hoping to get more minutes.

The National Team expected Starting Lineup: Subrata Paul will be challenged by Amrinder under the bar

After Manvir’s immediate positive effect, young Anirudh Thapa and Vinit Rai could also be expected to play a part. Dynamic as they are, the youngsters are set to improve and will need the confidence of their manager to ensure they can apply themselves on the pitch as well. In defense, Salam Ranjan Singh warmed up the last time and will be hoping to make his senior debut, after captaining the U-23 side recently during the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers in Qatar.

Also Read: Resilient India make it 9 wins in a row with triumph over Mauritius

Under the bar, Amrinder Singh looks to be the probable starter after a strong outing in the second half of the game against Mauritius. The former Bengaluru FC marksman collected the aerial balls well and dealt with the grounded attempts with relative ease as well. In the absence of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu due to AFC Cup commitments with BFC, the 25-year-old looks comfortable and compact.

The defensive four look set to re-play their plans out on the pitch. Talisman and future captain Sandesh Jhingan displayed good maturity in the last game, providing the right sort of impetus and energy the backline needed to thrive on. Anas Edathodika will probably make way for Ranjan Salam later in the game, giving the youngster a little exposure at international football. Jerry Lalrinzuala looks set to come on from the bench.

Wingers Holicharan Narzary and Jackichand Singh are certain starters, though Nikhil Poojary’s exuberant youth will challenge Singh on the right-wing position. The youngster displayed enough physicality and dedication to the cause, something which certainly impressed the manager. Narzary should do a little more on the attacking front, which expectedly, he’s quite capable of.

Looking at the game against Mauritius on Tuesday St. Kitts & Nevis are set to play a long ball game and press their opposition, India, high up the pitch. The gameplay is set to put pressure on Edathodika, Pritam Kotal, Jhingan and Narayan Das, players who’re entrusted to get that second touch in possession and hit the ball long.

St. Kitts and Nevis

The team has no real aerial prowess as the height of the opposition is similar to the Blue Tigers. The team is ranked 125 in the FIFA rankings and has been growing into the game and may provide a hard nut to crack, as their hard-working players do not allow an inch of the pitch to whoever the opposition is, irrespective of the surroundings and situation.

Broadcast

The game is set to be broadcast on the Star Network on Thursday at 8:00 PM and is being played at the Mumbai Football Arena. Grab your tickets.

Published: Wed Aug 23, 2017 05:10 PM IST

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