The Blue Tigers are in need of a result against the Reds to secure qualification to the knockout rounds of the tournament
Effort and luck do not go hand-in-hand every time and Indian fans would be feeling the same after the 2-0 loss against the United Arab Emirates in their second encounter of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. After defeating Thailand 1-4 in the opening match, India will take on Bahrain in their make-or-break game today at the Al-Sharjah Stadium.
Group A is well-poised at the moment, with Bahrain sitting at the bottom of the table, drawing 1-1 against the UAEon the opening day of the tournament and losing 1-0 to Thailand. The Middle-Eastern nation has not been prolific in attack, but have managed to hold their opposition at bay for major parts of both games.
The Blue Tigers are currently second in the group and know that just a draw against Bahrain is enough to power them through to the knockout stages. Even a defeat might just push them through to the Round of 16 in case UAE beat Thailand as well. As such, the first priority for Stephen Constantine’s team will be to avoid defeat on Monday.
If we see the stats and Blue Tigers approach – they will go for 1-0 scoreline with an aggressive attack and pressing for the ball in the first half. If they succeed in this then defending with 8 men back in the box could be the best alternative. But we consider Bahrain defensive play its no way easy to penetrate through it as India lacks both pace & physicality against them. So, going nil – nil seems to be the best option to create the history.
However, given the positive approach that India displayed against Thailand (4-1 win) and UAE (2-0 loss), it would not be a surprise if they came out swinging and went for the jugular.
The team certainly has the capability to do so. They are compact in defense, press well and have chosen their moments to attack wisely and will look to trouble Bahrain with their pace frontmen.
“When we lose a game its disappointing. The way we played, we all believed we did not deserve a defeat. The good thing about this squad is that no matter how much hardships come, we get over it and the squad is full of strong and positive characters. You feel bad when you lose but the gaffer gave a very good speech after the game and he said there is no point in thinking about what could have happened and so we must look forward to Bahrain. We were back at work and all pumped up,” said Jhingan. A draw will do for us – he added.
On the Last incident, India lost 5-2 and was sidelined with one match in hand but now things have changed. Now, much of India’s fortunes will rest on how the midfield duo of Pronay Halder and Anirudh Thapa fare along with Chhetri bringing some magical moment to the beautiful game.