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SAFF Cup Indian Players Ratings: Ashique and Chhangte shines as India overcome opening challenge

Written by: Sabin Castelino

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The game also saw a commendable performance by captaincy debutant Subhashish Bose.

India beat neighborus Sri Lanka 2-0 despite fielding a relatively inexperienced starting XI. Subhashish Bose stepped up to the plate to deliver a proper captain’s performance and goals from the wings through Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianzuala Chhangte in either half, ensured the Blues Tigers an easy three points.

Both the teams tried to play their part in the game, but India’s pressing in the final third paid its dividends as the result swung in the Blue Tigers’ favour. Khel Now takes a detailed look at how the national team performed in their tournament opener against Sri Lanka.

Vishal Kaith- 6/10

Kaith was a by-stander in almost all of the game. His only call to attention was to organize the defense at corners and that was all he had to do. Although, he displayed command over the backline by being vocal throughout the match and thus showed his leadership skills to lay claim to Gupreet Singh Sandhu’s mantle.

Sarthak Golui- 6/10

In a match that saw the defense untested, Sarthak pushed forward on many occassions. His command on the ball was well-placed and he formed the fulcrum alongside Salam Ranjan Singh to help propel the midfield forward.

Salam Ranjan Singh- 6/10

Salam Ranjan did the coach's bidding and provided defensive stability at the back. Similar to Sarthak, he was untested, but his presence was felt especially in the opposition box during corners. The tall defender did well and surely can challenge for Anas Edathodika's place as he brings pace to the backline.

Subhashish Bose- 7/10



Subhashish was appointed the captain by head coach Stephen Constantine after a dazzling array of performances put forward by the former Bengaluru FC man. Having swept aside the challenge from Jerry Lalrinzuala  for a starting place, Subhashish showed his head coach that when Captain Marvel, Sunil Chhetri retires, he may not have to look far for the next leader in the pack to shoulder the burden.

Looking at the heat map generated by the SAFF website, it is clearly seen how Subhasish moved and his dominance on the left wing especially, in the opposition half is clear indication of how he marshalled the troupes upfront.

Sajid Dhot- 5/10

Dhot had a brilliant opportunity to cement the right-back's position for himself, but he did very little going forward. He disappeared into the crowd and that did not help neither him nor the Indian team.

Dhot needs to take more responsibility for himself if he wants to continue playing for India in the upcoming years.

Anirudh Thapa- 7/10

India’s main man for all free-kicks, Anirudh has vastly improved. Given the one-sided nature of the match, his running across the length of the field helped move the attack and transition easily. He also troubled the opposition and shook their confidence with his incisive runs and dangerous shots. However, there is scope for improvement with free-kicks, but he delivered perfectly from corners.

Germanpreet Singh- 5/10

Germanpreet has a physical approach to the game, but the Punjab-born midfielder tired easily and was seen huffing and puffing within the first 20 minutes of the first half. While there is a slight chance that it was the climate but, Germanpreet seemed to be off the mark and did not influence the game hugely.

Ashique Kuruniyan- 7.5/10

The young attacker started the game confidently and his left-wing dominance left the opposition in shambles. His heat map coincides with Subhashish’s and it goes a long way to show that India might have found their stable left-sided combination.

Kuruniyan’s strike took the team to the tunnel with a lead and that greatly boosted the young cadre who were pressed out by the defensive-minded Lankan team. Ashique had entered the fray looking to fill the left winger's role and he qave a good account of himself on the pitch. Although, subbed off in the second half, he left his mark on the score-sheet.

Lalianzuala Chhangte- 7.5/10

If you are an Indian football fanatic, you will remember the wonder-strikes by Lallianzuala on his debut against Nepal, where he became the youngest-ever senior team player to score two goals on debut. Chhangte has come a great distance since, as he led the riot on the right wing and took at least five shots from distance, also landing his team’s second goal.

Chhangte might give Udanta a run for his money if he continues to show his potential against tougher opposition.


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Sumeet Passi- 5/10

The senior-most player in the Indian ranks, Sumeet has had to face injuries for the longest time. He has been in Constantine’s good books for a long time, but has failed to make many appearances due to his fragile body. On Wednesday, he produced a decent performance, but was found wanting in front of goal.

Farukh Choudhary- 6/10

The wonderboy from Mumbai has been touted for great things since his Real Kashmir days. In this game, he showed thaat he can lead an attack and trouble opposition defenders. It was his drawing away of players that opened the game for Kuruniyan to score a goal and he also struck the post once in the second half.

However, Farukh needs to improve his temperament, as he was one of the highly fouled players on the pitch and there were certainly some moments where he could have lost his cool. But overall, it was a decent performance from the Ambernath lad.

Substitutes-

Nikhil Poojary- 6/10

Poojary replaced Ashique in the 60th minute and did his best to carry on the bombardment on the left wing. On a day when the gaffer prioritizes attack, he might make a great deputy for the in-form Kuruniyan.

Manvir Singh- 5/10

Coming on in the 70th minute, Manvir added teeth to the attack and showed the boss why he should have started the match. He even opened up play for Farukh who struck the post and rattled the defenders. He truly has grown from strength to strength at FC Goa.

Vinit Rai- N/A

Vinit came on late and steadied the ship. He has a great deal of defensive potential.  

Published: Thu Sep 06, 2018 01:35 PM IST

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