India Vs Bahrain AFC Asian Cup Match Preview
The 17th edition of Asian Cup is in full swing from the first week of January. Tomorrow India will take on Bahrain in it’s last Group Stage game which stands as a crucial decider about the Blue Tigers’ progression into the next stage. India opened their Asian Cup campaign with a 4-1 win against Thailand, in their second game the Blue Tigers, unfortunately, lost to the hosts UAE by a scoreline of 2-0. The loss made India move down to the 2nd position in the Group with 3 points from two games with UAE lying above and Thailand in third position with same number of points.
Now the progression of India is a little bit difficult anyway as the best 3rd placed team of 4 Groups would be promoted to the Round of 16. Let us see the postulates for the qualification of the Blue Tigers to the pre-quarter finals.
- India beats Bahrain : If India Beats Bahrain, they will not need to depend on the result of UAE VS Thailand. With 6 Points, India would easily qualify for the R16. If UAE clinches victory against Thailand then with a total of 7 Points UAE will be promoted as the Winner in Group-A and India will be Runners up in Group-B.
- India Draws with Bahrain: If India finishes the game against Bahrain in a stalemate, they will need to depend on the result of UAE VS Thailand match. If UAE secures a win then it will be easy to the Blue Tigers as UAE promotes with 7 points and India will finish as Runners up in Group stage with 4 points. If Thailand wins against UAE, Thailand will be the Winners of Group-A and UAE will be the Runners up of Group-A. India is also having a chance to move in the R16 but will need to depend on the other groups 3rd placed team.
- Bahrain beats India : This turns to be the critical situation to team India as they will need to wait for other Group games to secure the R16 spot as the best 3rd placed team. On other hand UAE needs to beat Thailand. If this happens then it will mean that India will have a chance to move to the next round as one of the four best third placed teams.
Match Details :
• Date: 14th January 2019
• Time: 9:30 PM(IST)
• Venue: Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah
• TV Broadcast: Star Sports Networks
• Online Streaming: Hotstar
Team News :
○ India : After a brilliant start against Thailand, India failed to continue their winning streak. The shot-stopper Gurpreet did not keep clean sheets in the last 3 games for India. In the Defensive side, Subhasish Bose was good in comparison to others. But the weakest side of Blue Tigers was the Midfield region failing to hold and rotate the ball in the field and lacking in maintaining the ball possession.
In the attacking side, there was no doubt on the performance of the talisman Chhetri. Ashique Kuruniyan’s performance has turned to be a talk in town. Jeje and Udanta will have to play their ‘A game’ if India has to churn out anything positive from tomorrow’s outing.
○ Bahrain : The Reds started their Asian Cup Campaign with a stalemate against the hosts UAE and in their second group stage game lost to Thailand.
No one could believe the loss of Bahrain to Thailand. Even in their preparatory friendlies ahead of Asian Cup, The Reds had clinched consecutive victories against Tajikistan, Lebanon and North Korea. This form of Bahrain is because of a lack of creativity and clinical finishing is not up to the mark as a team they need to perform well against India to elude the chance of elimination from the tournament. Al Romaihi will be the nightmare to the Indian defenders.
● Probable XI :
○ India (4-4-2)
S Bose, S Jhingan, A Edathodika, P Kotal; U Singh, H Narzary, U Singh, P.Halder (C) ; S Chhetri, A Kuruniyan.
○ Bahrain (4-2-3-1)
S Shubbar(GK); SR Issa, H Shamsa, W Hayam, A Juma; A Safi(C), K Aswad
A Madan, M Marhoon, S Saeed; M Romaihi.
● Head to Head :
• Matches: 5
• India: 0
• Bahrain: 4
• Drawn: 1
● Recent Form :
• India: D L D W L
• Bahrain: W W W D L
● Manager’s Quote :
○ India :
“I have said it before that we can qualify from this group. That is our objective right now,” said Constantine on the eve of the match.“I don’t believe in records. There are a lot of factors that come into play. When was the last time we played them? Was it the same team? What were the circumstances? Everything’s always changing,” “If we win, we don’t have to worry about anyone else. So we’ll focus on ourselves and see what happens from there. It’s an important game for us. Obviously, we want to do well and get the three points.“I’m not sure whether we can call it ‘do-or-die’. That’s a bit too dramatic, I think,” Constantine said.
The India coach had words of praise for the opponents. “They defend very well and are very well organised. I’m sure that it will be difficult. But we have shown that we can score against good teams. I’m sure we can score tomorrow as well,” he concluded.
○ Bahrain :
Head coach Miroslav Soukup remained optimistic on his side’s chances to make the next stage. “We must be ready. Everyone in our team knows that we now have only one way to qualify. We must win the game. Our team is ready to do the maximum for a win. We lost against Thailand. I hope everyone in our teams knows that we must play better.”
“Against Thailand, if you pick up the stats, we were stronger in every department of the field barring the box. Inside the box, Thailand was stronger. We want to be stronger inside the box tomorrow. For India, this game is easier. Because even if India lose 1-0, they can easily qualify with three points”, he argued.
He also added, “We have seen many of their games. We know how they play. We also know the history of the coach, who is managing India for the second time. We are tactically ready but the game is not decided on the whiteboard, the game is decided on the pitch and I hope the players understand and remember the information from our meetings and show it on the pitch tomorrow.”
“They played good. They made a very good game against the UAE. We saw them create many goal chances against the UAE but the game is about results. I was at the stadium when India played Thailand in Abu Dhabi. They carried the same style to the UAE game. I hope they cannot repeat all those things tomorrow. We must be stronger, simple,” he concluded.
● Author’s take :
In my opinion, just a draw is enough for team India but anyway aiming a victory is better. At present the approach of the Blue Tigers should be slow and steady. My prediction for tomorrow’s game is India beating Bahrain by 2 goals to one.