#INDSYR Ratings: Narender Gahlot & Rahul Bheke stand tallest as India hold Syria
Written by: Waseem Zaidi
The 18-year-old centre-back scored the only goal for Blue Tigers early in the second half.
India managed to open their points tally in the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 with a 1-1 draw against Syria in their last group stage match. It required multiple impressive performances from the host nation's players to contain mighty opponents in Syria, who needed a win at all costs to progress through to the final.
A solid defensive display and a collective effort from Igor Stimac’s men earned them a well-deserved point which easily could have been three, if not for a momentary lapse in concentration which led to the equaliser. Nevertheless, it is a result that would boost the confidence of the whole squad ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Here are the player ratings from India’s match against Syria on Tuesday night at the EKA Arena on Tuesday night:
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - 6.0
The custodian deserved to leave the field with a clean-sheet thanks to his solid performance between the sticks. The Bengaluru FC player commanded his box well and fetched up any loose balls with ease and did not give the Assyrians any opportunity to pounce on a rebound.
Pritam Kotal - 5.5
The full-back looked out of his depth and failed to track runs in behind by the Syrian forward and did not offer much going forward in the first half. However, the 25-year-old was a tough nut to crack in the second 45, lifting his standards.
Narender Gahlot - 7.5
The 18-year-old won the hearts of the fans with his Hero of the Match performance. Although, he looked nervous in the first half, the youngster went on to score his first goal for the national side in only his second appearance with a towering header. That feat gave him unreal confidence and the former Indian Arrows player performed way beyond his years.
Rahul Bheke - 7.0
A surprise package on the night, the defender formed a formidable partnership with Narender and matched him step for step. The Bengaluru player had his best display in national colours, making some crunch tackles and staying firm when it came to 50-50 duels.
Mandar Rao Dessai - 5.5
Made a few individual errors in the first half combined with half-hearted tackling and also lacked positional awareness at times. Most notably, the 27-year-old wasted possession while going forward and needed to show a little more composure.
Amarjit Singh Kiyam - 6.5
The boy from Manipur looked way more comfortable playing with Sahal Abdul Samad and Anirudh Thapa in a trio. His defensive covering was top notch and prevented the Syria attackers from dominating the centre-backs. Needs to be a little more careful with his tackles, as he gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area, earning him a yellow card.
Sahal Abdul Samad - 6.5
He is slowly establishing himself as one India’s most talented players with the ball. The Kerala Blasters midfielder showcased sublime ball control and looked sharp in possession. One of his more mature performances for the national side where he oozed calmness.
Anirudh Thapa - 6.5
The hard working midfielder, Anirudh Thapa was again crucial for his side. He ran his socks off in the heart of the midfield and was an ever-present figure, be it in attack or defence. It was his pinpoint delivery from the corner that led to the opening goal.
Udanta Singh - 6.5
Thanks to his blistering pace, Udanta Singh created many opportunities from the right flank and almost unlocked the opposition’s defence early on with a dangerous cross into the box, which failed to find a touch. The 23-year-old exhibited much more control and confidence with his movement and delivery on the night.
Lallianzuala Chhangte - 5.0
The Delhi Dynamos winger, on many accounts, took decisions in haste causing much frustration to the manager. Though, he started to pick his game up and linked well with the midfielders in the second half. With a little more concentration, he could have caused more damage in the final third, but his lack of composure was his downfall.
Sunil Chhetri - 6.5
The captain fantastic was not allowed much room to breathe by the opposition defence and dropped deeper in order to influence the game. He did not receive adequate opportunities in the opposition box, but was ever so crucial in keeping his side focused and motivated.
Jerry Lalrinzuala - 4.5
Due to a terrible error of judgement, he gave away the penalty which led to the equaliser, almost immediately after coming off the bench.
Manvir Singh - 5.5
His short run out on the field had a decent lung-bursting sprint down the right flank and the striker used his height to perform defensive duties adequately.
Vinit Rai - N/A
Farukh Choudhary - N/A
Jobby Justin - N/A
Ibrahim Alma - 4.5
The 27-year-old goalkeeper was not called into action frequently and was helpless on the occasion where Narender’s header flew past him into the top corner.
Youssef Al-Hamwi - 5.0
The full-back delivered a lukewarm first half performance, which saw him getting substituted early in the second. But, his workrate allowed him to manage Chhangte with relative ease.
Abdulla Alshami - 5.5
Abdulla Alshami played a crucial role in winning the second-balls and prevented the Indian attackers any room in front of the box. He also proved to be a threat due to his accurate distribution from the back.
Mohd. Fares Al-Arnaout - 6.5
The star performer in the Syrian defence on the night, he dealt with aerial balls with ease and also controlled the backline efficiently. However, a lapse in concentration led to the first goal from a free header after some sloppy man-marking.
Khaled Kourdoghli - 6.0
Troubled by Udanta, the left-back looked like losing the battle on the right flank. However, he kept up with the electrifying speed and nimble movement from the winger and covered spaces behind him well.
Tamer Hag Mohamad - 5.5
Did not have the best outing. The midfielder failed to influence the game and was caught in possession, causing turnovers as a result.
Mohamed Anaz - 5.0
It was a disappointing performance from the Syria midfield, which was unable to pick out gaps with their passing and Mohamed Anaz looked a frustrated figure, much like the rest of the team.
Ahmad Alahmad - 5.0
The right-sided winger used his pace and constantly tried to cut in from the flank in order to look for forward runs. He was tough to deal with on several occasions, but lacked quality in the final third.
Ward Alslamh - 5.5
Despite causing much trouble to the Indian defence with his speed and movement, the attacking midfielder looked out of ideas when it mattered the most.
Mohammad Almarmour - 5.5
The attacker was all over the field and attempted to find a weakness in the Indian shape from various channels, but he missed a few opportunities and made unforced errors due to hastiness.
Firas Al-Khatib - 7.0
The captain was a nuisance for the Indian defence all night and was the main attacking outlet for Syria. He missed an early opportunity, but showed good target man qualities and scored a crucial penalty to bring his side level.
Mohamad Alahmad - 6.0
The forward was brought on to provide support to the lone striker upfront and did his bit by winning the penalty.
Amro Jeniat - 5.0
Came off the bench to provide stability to the defence, but was troubled by Chhangte’s pace and could not deliver much going forward.
Published: Wed Jul 17, 2019 01:25 AM IST