Indian national football team is on the verge of history as they take on Bahrain in their final group fixture with the aim to make the Round of 16 fixtures.
India will face off against the Bahrain side at the Sharjah Stadium on Monday to make their Asian Dream a reality and secure the qualification to the next round. After a thundering win against Thailand, they lost out to hosts UAE but put up an excellent performance to grab praise even from the opposition.
The Indian side has done well on the attacking front with regular chances being created; but the finishing has suffered more clinical nature will be expected from the strikers.
The defence has been a cause of concern for Stephen Constantine but the gaffer will hope the backline recovers in time. Anas Edathodika was shaky against the UAE side but will aim to put on an error-free performance against Bahrain.
If India can put up a mix of performance from both of their played out fixtures, the Tigers will be playing more at this edition of AFC Asian Cup.
Things haven’t been so good for Bahrain relatively. Even after impressive results in the preparatory games for the continental cup, Bahrain hasn’t been able to reflect the same with the final touch. In the first match, they shared points with UAE, a result that had more of UAE’s dismal performance than Bahrain’s hard work.
Later, they lost to Thailand 1-0, against whom India netted 4 times. But, the team under Miroslav Soukup still has chances to advance to the next round, which they wouldn’t be giving up easily.
Predicted Lineups – India vs Bahrain
India (4-4-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subhasish Bose, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, Halicharan Narzary; Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri
Bahrain (4-2-3-1): Sayed Shubbar Alawi, Ahmed Juma, Waleed Al Hayam, Hamad Al-Shamsan, Sayed Redha Isa, Komail Al Aswad, Abdulwahab Al-Safi; Sayed Dhiya Saeed, Mohamed Marhoon, Sami Al-Husaini, Mohamed Al Romaihi
India vs Bahrain: Key Players
Sunil Chhetriwill again remain India’s most key player on the team sheet. Like it was in the previous two outings, a major portion of the attacks will be involving this 34-year-old. With 2 goals in the opening fixture, Chhetri had announced his intentions in the championship. India having a new offensive inventory now, in the form of Gurpreet Singh’s long goal kicks; Chhetri will become more crucial with his fast and clever attacking abilities.
Mohamed Al Rohaimi will be the man-in-charge of the Bahrain attacks. The striker scored their only goal in this Cup this year and will be a threat to the Indian defence. The 6ft 1in man will be a trouble for the Indian centre-backs, if provided with sufficient long balls. Aerial duals can be expected given the 28-year old’s good physique.
India 2-1 Bahrain
India will be gunning to get the win and go full throttle against the Bahrain side. Stephen Constantine’s men will be boosted by their performances in the past two matches. However, Bahrain will be up for the fight and won’t be a pushover side at all.