IND vs AFGH Dream11: India will be seeking its first win in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers when they play Afghanistan in game four in the second-round Group E match at Central Republican Stadium (Pamir Stadium) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Thursday evening.
The Men in Blue opened its campaign with a 1-2 defeat at home against Oman. That was a big opportunity lost as the Indian team failed to take advantage of the home conditions. It hurt even more considering the winner of the group will get the automatic berth at the finals, while the four best-placed runners-up will be mong to the next round. As things stand, India are millions of kilometers away from catching up leaders Qatar, while four points separate India and Oman in 2nd place. It's a huge gap considering how India has played so far.
A match to remember!
The cause for optimism for the Indian fans is the results in the last two games, especially the dogged performance against Qatar (0-0) which brought India a point. But the 1-1- draw against Bangladesh in the subsequent fixture was a disappointment considering India was playing against 10-man, had more than 74% of the ball, and created enough chances to get out of the sight.
That's why head coach Igor Stimac once again reiterated that it was too early to draw any level of expectation from his squad and that it would take time to fully implement his philosophy and tactics on this team.
“When you go to play against Qatar, there is nothing to lose. But when you go to play against Bangladesh, everybody has put three points on the table (for India) before the game started. Against Qatar and Oman, you know that you have to defend and counter-attack. Against Bangladesh, they counter-attack you,” the former West Ham defender said in the press conference.
But what about opponents?
Afghanistan, a team ranked 146 in the world are sitting above India in the points table, following a win and two defeats from the opening three games. Afghans could use the win as a psychological advantage over India, knowing their counterparts are hard-pressed for a win.
Teams: India and Afghanistan
Competition: FIFA World Cup qualifier
Venue: Central Republican Stadium, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Match Timing: November 14, @ 07:30 PM (IST)
From India, Sunil Chhetri is the man to put your faith in. He is the leading goal scorer for Indian at the moment and will be eying more personal glory in this match.
Sahal Abdul Samad: The UAE-born Indian star is the engine and a vital cog in the middle of the park. He is good on the ball and can pull a pass or two from the deep positions in the midfield. He had more than 90% passing against Qatar.
For Afghanistan, Arshad Noor is the star attraction. He is the most high-profile player in this team, having made to the Netherlands under 17 squad, while he is currently plying his trade in Europe.
Indian football team news:
India will go into the two upcoming qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman without first-choice center-back Sandesh Jhingan and midfielder Amarjit Kiyam. The former is a huge blow considering the quality and the composure he brings at the back.
In addition, Anas Edathodika flew back to India from Dubai due to a family emergency, while Adil Khan is a huge doubt for the match after missing the last two games for his Indian Super League team Hyderabad FC due to an injury.
But Igor Stimac is set to welcome back midfielder Pronay Halder after the player was regained his full match fitness.
“India is still not a team that can replace important players immediately. We lost the most important man in our backline (Jhinghan) and one of the best central midfield players (Amarjit Kiyam) and it's not easy to replace such players. So we suffer a little bit with these injuries but now I am happy that Pronay (Halder) is back in the team,” Stimac said.
Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem received his first international call-up. Though both Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Amrinder Singh are ahead in the pecking order with the former the first-choice at the moment, it's a significant step-up still for the player who is yet to turn 20.
Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Rowlin Borges remains out at this moment.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Defenders: Anas Edathodika, Narender, Adil Khan, Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai
Midfielders: Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary
Afghanistan team news:
Afghanistan have no injury issues ahead of the game.
Full Afghanistan squad:
Goalkeepers: Ovays Azizi, Ahmad Hellal Hosseini, Faisal Hamidi
Defenders: Hassan Amin, Haroon Fakhruddin Amiri, Zelfy Nazary, Milad Intezar, Najim Haidary, Farzad Ataee, Sharif Muhammad, Benjamin Nadjem, Ali Baset Nazari
Midfielders: Noor Husin, Adam Najem, Farshad Noor, Faysal Shayesteh, Abassin Alikhil, Naeem Rahimi, Mustafa Azadzoy, Milad Intezar, Rahmatullah Khairkhah, Norlla Amiri, Milad Intezar
Forwards: Zubayr Amiri, Omran Haydary.
India: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke / Pritam Kotal, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Mandar Rao Desai, Raynier Fernandez, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri
Afghanistan: Ovays Azizi (GK) Hassan Amin, Haroon Fakhruddin Amiri, Najim Haidary, Farzad Ataee, Noor Husin, Adam Najem, Farshad Noor, Norlla Amiri, Faysal Shayesteh, Zubayr Amiri
IND vs AFGH Dream11 Teams: