Match Preview: India to face Cambodia to prepare for AFC Asian Cup qualifiers
Written by: Srinivasan
The Blue Tigers will look to better their Asian rivals when they take to the pitch at Phnom Penh. . .
2017 is a defining year for Indian football. The country plays host to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, a platform for young talent to go toe to toe with the youth footballers from other parts of the world. These young footballers will no doubt have one eye on the senior team when they face off against the Cambodian national team for a friendly in Phnom Penh.
Stephen Constantine's men will do well not to underestimate their opponents who are ranked 41 places below them in the FIFA rankings. The Koupray Blue, as they are commonly known, have not been in the best run of form in their last 5 games tasting defeat on all these occasions and shipping in 16 goals in the process.
The Indians, on the other hand, have won 4 of their last 5 games, the lone defeat to Turkmenistan in March last year being the only blemish in an otherwise positive campaign for the Blue Tigers. They will look to continue this form against a Cambodia side that are severely short on confidence.
Stephen Constantine will want to field a strong attacking lineup, despite this being only a friendly. But any game that involves the national team, especially in an unusual league schedule like that in India, needs to be taken seriously. The Brit will look to field a fearsome attacking quartet of Sunil Chhetri, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, CK Vineeth and Robin Singh, all of whom play or have plied their trade with reigning I-league champions Bengaluru FC.
While Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathotika, Arnab Mondal will fight it out in the middle of the defence, Constantine might look to give some game time to debutant Jerry Lalrinzuala as Narayan Das looks certain at left back and Pritam Kotal at the right. The 18-year old has had a positive season with DSK Shivajians and has certainly convinced the national gaffer of his skills.
Leonardo Vitorino, on the other hand, will need to think long and hard about how to stop his side's rut. While this is a relatively young Cambodian team with the oldest player aged 28 years old, Vitorino will need to use this platform as a learning opportunity for his young squad. Their 28-year old striker Khoun Laboravy will be expected to lead the line along with youngster Chan Vathanaka.
Head to Head
The two teams have met each other only once before this in 2007. On that occasion, the Blue Tigers ran out winners in a 6-0 rout of the Kouprey Blue.
Man to Watch
Sunil Chhetri - India: The 32-year old has had a relatively disappointing I-League season with his club languishing in 5th spot in the league. However, the national team presents an opportunity for the captain to leave his league worries behind and take on a different role with the national setup. With his Bengaluru FC teammates expected to lead the attack along with him, there will be an air of familiarity albeit different tactical systems as they want to make it 2 wins out of 2 against their Asian opponents.
The highest scorer of all time for the National team will look to get into his groove. (© AIFF Media )
Khoun Laboravy-Cambodia: The 28-year old is the most experienced member of the squad selected to face India with 48 caps to his name. The striker has scored for the national team on 9 occasions and brings plenty of leadership and firepower to the team, despite not leading the side. The rest of the young squad will look to the Boeung Ket Angkor man to be the focal point of the Cambodian attack as they attempt to arrest their losing form.
Stephen Constantine pre match conference
“We will be playing on an artificial turf. We would have preferred to play on grass. But we need to adjust. It is a very important match for us ahead of the crucial match against Myanmar in the AFC Cup Qualifiers. I thank AIFF for arranging the same. There are 4-5 players who are carrying slight niggles so I haven’t yet decided on the starting XI. Let me see what suits us best. The weather conditions in Phnom Penh are quite similar to that in Yangon and it will be a good test for us.”
Cambodia: (4-4-2)- Sereyroth, Tola, Visal, Samoeun, Pidor, Suhana, Dina, Phallin, Bin, Laboravy, Vathanaka
India: (4-2-3-1) Gurpreet, Pritam, Anas, Mondal, Narayan, Borges, Milan, Chhetri, Eugeneson, Vineeth, Robin.
The match begins at 5 PM IST and it will broadcast live at KhelNow.com.
Published: Tue Mar 21, 2017 02:50 PM IST