Khel Now rates and slates players from both teams after the Blue Tigers’ latest win in AFC Asian Cup qualifying…

India defeated Kyrgyzstan in their Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers Group A match at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru last night. The Indian captain, Sunil Chhetri scored the winning goal for the hosts as Jeje Lalpekhlua registered his name on the assist sheet.

Match Highlights: India close in on Asian dream with their second win in 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers

The match was a physical as well as a tactical showdown between the two teams. Kyrgyzstan started with eight forwards but failed to score a single goal. On the other hand, the Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu delivered a brilliant performance under the sticks, ensuring an Indian win by not conceding from any of the shots by Kyrgyz behemoth Mirlan Murzaev. Chhetri was awarded the Hero of the Match following his heroics against the White Falcons. Let’s take a look at the players’ ratings of the Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier game.


Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (9.0)

One of India’s best players on the pitch last night. The Indian goalkeeper had a magnificent outing where he saved the Indians from conceding any goals against Kyrgyzstan. Six feet five inches tall, the goalkeeper had little trouble saving Vitalij Lux and Mirlan Murzaev’s long rangers which posed the Indian defence a severe threat. He made at least seven saves from screamers during the match and was content dealing with free-kicks as well. His best moment came when he saved a long shot from the Kyrgyz captain in the 15th minute.

Pritam Kotal (7.5)

The full-back had a decent day at the office last night against the Kyrgyz Republic. The Mohun Bagan right-back started the match brightly, going on complimentary overlapping runs on the right side to support Jackichand Singh on the wings as well as tracking back in case of counter-attacks.

Sandesh Jhingan (8.0)

The central defender had another solid match against the White Falcons. Though he lost track of Kyrgyz attackers in the box several times (e.g. against Murzaev in the second half) he caught up with the rest of the attack builders, won the possession and contributed to the defensive duties actively.

Anas Edathodika (8.0)

One of the better performers of the Indian contingent against the White Falcons. Edathodika posed a threat to the Kyrgyz attackers throughout the game. The defender from Mohun Bagan was constantly on watch and his agility helped him keep forwards such as Bernhardt and Murzaev at bay. The central defender won the possession several times from opposition counter-attacks and contributed to that of the Indians.

Narayan Das (6.5)

The full-back was subject to a lot of Kyrgyz penetration and ball playing on the left side of India. The East Bengal defender lost the possession several times and failed to block opposition forwards penetrating through the left side which ended in several build-ups and crosses which could have dismantled the Indian defence.

Rowlin Borges (6.5)

The midfielder who played with stitches in his head had a typically combative performance in the middle of the park. Tasked with covering for the more forward inclined Eugeneson Lyngdoh he was often required to break up Kyrgyz surged through midfield and while his success rate was hit and miss he was never overawed by the opposition or the occasion and stuck to his guns throughout the evening.

Also read: Tactically stout India see off defensively strong Kyrgyzstan

Eugeneson Lyngdoh (7.0)

It wasn’t one of his best games in an India shirt or the Bengaluru FC man. His inability to link up with the forwards and provide quality service from midfield was one of the reasons the Indians found themselves on the back foot for much of the first half. That said, the creative ace was workman-like in his tracking back, a role usually foreign to him and deserves credit for that.

Jackichand Singh (6.0)

The winger had a mixed bag of a game. He found himself in space on the right wing on several occasions and while his pace was an asset the quality of his final ball was poor, to say the least. Jackichand also joined Rowlin Borges and Eugenson Lyngdoh in defensive duties several times, overcrowding the defence and denying the visitors to score goals on many chances.

Holicharan Narzary (7.0)

The DSK Shivajians man did not have that much effect as was expected from him. Narzary was caught between the Kyrgyzstan defenders and was forced to either give up the possession or misfire throughout the match. However, he created few chances throughout the game that kept Sunil Chhetri and company fed during the match.

Sunil Chhetri (9.0)

The best man on the pitch against the Kyrghyz Republic. The Indian skipper had a superb game against the White Falcons and scored the only goal of the match and deservedly won the Hero of the Match award. Chhetri, who returned to the fold from an injury displayed leadership skills, magnificent runs into the opponent box as well as defending against opposition counter-attacks.

Sunil Chhetri: ‘by far the best performance by the Indian Team’ in a long time

Jeje Lalpekhlua (7.0)

The Indian striker had a moderate game at best against Kyrgyzstan as he often misfired as well as lost possession to the Kyrgyz defenders. Jeje was also found out of position which as a result broke down Indian counters and helped the Kyrgyz players to regroup once again. However, it was the Mohun Bagan man’s individual brilliance that saw a lobbed pass finding Chhetri’s feet before the captain converted it in to score the only goal of the match.


Mohammed Rafique (7.0)

The midfielder replaced Rowlin Borges in the midfield in the 65th minute of the second half. Rafique provided the team with incisiveness in attack which ultimately helped tilt the balance in India’s favour. He made some important tackles and maintained a sustainability by dealing with opponent counter attacks.

Bikash Jairu (6.5)

Jairu replaced Jackichand Singh in the 74th minute of the match and provided fresh legs and good energy that helped the team see out Kyrgyzstan’ssearch for an equaliser in the final minutes.

Robin Singh (6.0)

The striker was sent on the pitch in the 80th minute and replaced Jeje Lalpekhlua in the team. Although he wasted a chance to score the second goal of the match in the dying minutes his physical presence and pace were key both at the back and in attack.

12th Man: Indian Football Fans (10)

The sort of support West Block Blues, the East Block and other fans in the stands provided the Blue Tigers was exemplary. 

One of the biggest banners in Asian Football was unveiled on Tuesday evening at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore.


Pavel Matiash (7.5)

The Kyrgyz shot-stopper started the match brightly but conceded a goal in the second half which allowed India to defeat the White Falcons at home. However, the Maziya S&RC goalkeeper pulled off some good saves and gave his compatriots a fighting chance against India.

Kozubaev Tamilran (5.0)

The full-back had a moderate game, based solely on physicality against the Blue Tigers. Tamilran could not keep the Indian wingers at bay throughout the match which resulted in several crosses to the Kyrgyz penalty box, intended for the Indian strikers.

Iliaz Alimov (5.5)

The 26-year old defender posed a threat to the Indian attackers in the initial phase of the match but failed to sustain his performance for long. Alimov made some important tackles, regaining possessio in the process.

Amanbek Manybekov (5.0)

The young defender had a tough time adapting to the Indian players’ pace last night. He was caught off guard several times but was saved by Alimov who came into rescue him. However, both of the central defenders were at fault for the only goal of the match.

Maier Viktor (8.0)

Arguably the best Kyrgyz player on the pitch. The Germany-born footballer was a constant threat to the Indian defence throughout the match. Maier, who operated primarily as a full-back kept Pritam Kotal on his toes. Maier made some important crosses, however, none were converted because of individual brilliance of Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who dealt with the aerial balls, denying Viktor to get in on the assist sheet.

Anton Zemlianukhin (N/A)

The Kyrgyz winger could not make much impact in the match as he was injured in the early minutes of the first half and was taken out on a stretcher.

Akhlidin Israilov (7.0)

The midfielder displayed a superb gameplay in the middle of the pitch as he outsmarted his Indian counterparts throughout the game. Israilov played an instrumental part in Kyrgyzstan’s domination of the midfield, denying the Indian midfielders to gain possession. He also dictated the buildup well, distributing key passes to Murzaev and Lux upfront.

Farkhat Musabekov (7.0)

The physical presence of Farkhat Musabekov made things more complicated for the Indian midfielders. Farkhat, who acted as a holding midfielder, shielding the defence, intercepted numerous passes and broke down several counter attacks, denying the Indian midfielders to find the attackers up front.

Baktyiar Duishobekov (5.5)

One of the weakest links in the Kyrgyzstan team last night, the left winger was caught between Jackichand Singh and Pritam Kotal several times and was forced to give up the possession. He also displayed a poor defensive ability, which resulted in Jackichand runs into the opposition half and delivering crosses to the Indian forwards.

Mirlan Murzaev (7.0)

The Kyrgyz captain was surely one of the better performers on the pitch against India. Murzaev, who operated in the middle and just behind the striker, created several chances for Lux in the opposition half but none of them was converted into goals. Murzaev also displayed some skills in distribution, passing the ball to the striker or to the wings. He also made some brilliant long range shots towards the Indian goal but all the shots were saved by the Indian goalkeeper.

Vitalij Lux (5.0)

The striker did not have a good day at the office against India as he was denied on several chances by the Indian shot-stopper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Lux, who was operating as the loan striker for the White Falcons, was forced to go wide for the brilliant defensive display of the Indian defensive duo Edathodika and Jhingan. He also wasted some key chances and lost possession in the final third and was one of the worst performers on the pitch for Kyrgyzstan last night.


Edgar Bernhardt (5.0)

Bernhardt replaced an injured Anton Zemlianukhin in the early minutes of the first half. However, he failed to replicate the form of the star forward and was subject to wasting several chances against India. He lost possession to the Indian full-backs multiple times, handing India the opportunity of a counter-attack.

Jyrgalbek Uluu Kairat (N/A)

Uluu replaced the visitors’ captain Murzaev in the later parts of the second half but could not have much impact on the game.

Murolimzhon Akhmedov (N/A) Akhmedov replaced Maier Viktor in the 81st minute

Akhmedov replaced Maier Viktor in the 81st minute of the match but could not impact the game much.

12th Man: YAMAMOTO (Referee) (10.0)

The Japanese referee is well known in the Indian sub-continent for his controversial and wayward decision making. The final of ISL 2015 was officiated by him and the game is still remembered for its horrific decision-making. On Tuesday evening, the 34-year-old was again in ISL mode and gave numerous decisions against the hosts, some of them shameful.