By Vishal Chawria
India Lock Horns with White Falcons in an Asian Cup Qualification third round game.
Having posted their seventh straight win in international football, Stephen Constantine’s team would look to continue the winning momentum against a lower ranked Kyrgyz Republic team. Indian players feel it is important that they “remained calm to sustain the momentum” in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifying match in Bengaluru on June 13. Blue tigers recently broke into the top 100 FIFA ranking and justified it by beating their neighbouring nation Nepal with a comfortable 2-0 victory in a warm-up game without their talismanic Captain Sunil Chhetri due to fitness concerns. India will be favorites to win the tie against Kyrgyzstan with home support and form on their side. Kyrgyzstan is currently ranked 132nd in the latest FIFA ranking but are no nonsense team having finished third in the world cup qualifying game with one win and two draws below Australia and Jordan. India is ranked 100th currently and are looking good to go up with a seven match winning streak and they also have to win this tie to maintain their 100th rank. If India looses this tie their ranking might dip significantly.
Head to Head –
Both the teams have locked horn thrice in the past with India winning twice in an international friendly and a Nehru Cup game but the most recent result went to the Kyrgyz way during the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup where both the teams went out in the group stage but Kyrgyzstan finished above India. While they have played each other thrice, not much football has happened between these two teams in the recent past so a sense of uncertainty will be there before the game.
The Blue tigers are on a seven match winning run scoring nineteen goals in the process in their last six matches while the Kyrgyz team has only managed two wins in their last six matches. India has also performed well defensively, only letting in four goals in the same number of games. Having won their last match against Macau Kyrgyz have not enjoyed much success in the past few years and beating India with this kind of form might be a big asks for The White Falcons.
Predicted Line-Up –
The Blue Tigers are likely to start with a 4-1-3-2 formation with the 6’4 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu operating between the sticks. The backline will comprise of Mohun Bagan right back Pritam Kotal, BFC’s formidable Sandesh Jhingan, Indian defender of the year Anas Edathodika and the young left back Narayan Das. Central defensive midfielder Rowllin Borges is most likely to start and will dictate the pace of the game. Jackichand Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Sunil Chhetri are expected to line up behind the front two. The attack will feature Mohun Bagan’s Jeje Lalpekhlua and East Bengal’s big man Robin Singh.
As for Kyrgyzstan, the visitors are likely to opt for a 4-4-1-1 formation with the 6’5” Pavel Matiash featuring between the sticks. Mirlan Murzaev will be playing as central attacking midfielder who has a great aerial prowess and Vitaly Lux as the lone striker. Skipper Azamat Baymatov will be accompained with the young Tamirlan Kozubaev in central defence. Kyrgyzstani-German Victor Maier will guard on the right and 23-year-old Umarov Akramjon will function on the left side of the defense.
With the news coming up that Baymatov might not play due to injury concerns it will be tough for Kyrgyz Republic team cope with the high pressing Indian attack without their captain. Still India will have to show their A game to beat their rivals as they are a good defensive side. Rowllin Borges will be a key player for India going into the tie. He suffered a minor during the Nepal game but will feature in the starting lineup. Stephen Constantine will have to make some minor adjustments as india missed a lot of chances against their neighbouring nation. The match will be telecasted live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD at 8:00 PM from Sri Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.