In a close encounter between the two Southeast Asian sides for the place in the 2023 Asian Cup, India just got managed to get the upper hand over Bangladesh. A late brace from Indian captain Sunil Chhetri ensured the blue tiger’s win over a young Bangladeshi side. Football Monk takes a look at the five talking points from this tight-lipped Group E FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
The moment Brandon Fernandes was announced to start the match for India, it was clear that he would bring creativity to the side. As he did. Fernandez played a crucial game makers role all through the game. He made some crucial forward balls for the attackers in the first half. If not for Manvir missing the opportunity from a one one one, Brandon would have got an early assist. Apart from that, he kept the defense well organized with the help of Glen Martins.
Jamie Day’s Pragmatic approach of counterattack
Bangladesh’s team knows their abilities well. They are quick with the ball and very much of breaking the lines in the middle of the pitch. They allowed Indian players to get much deeper into their half. But the moment they won the ball, they started the transition with long balls or with quick passing. This led to many occasions where India found themselves blocked in the last line of defense very high on the pitch.
Udanta and Bipin acting as Wing Backs
Igor Stimac used a different set of approach in the defensive formation. India started with a back three; Udanta and Bipin Singh playing as wide wingbacks. At the beginning of the second half, both of the wingbacks were replaced by Md. Yasir and A. Kuruniyan respectively.
It widened the pitch for India in order to build attacks from the flanks and using Manvir Singh and later Liston Colaco as an inverted winger, where they can be much closer to the goal. These tactics ultimately came in handy as a left-footed cross from Ashique Kuruniyan found Chhetri in the box to open the deadlock of Bangladeshi defense.
Sunil Chhetri the Saviour
On the 79th minute, a cross came in from the left flank by Ashique Kuruniyan. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri reached the exact position of the second bar. And with his ever-increasing charisma, he put the ball into the net with a clinical header across the goal. And that very moment sealed the much-needed three points for the Blue Tigers. The second goal from Chhetri late in the additional time was the cherry on top of the perfect night for Indian fans.
With tonight’s brace, Chhetri has now 74 international goals by his name. Which on the other hand makes him enter the world football’s all-time top 10. Post-Bangladesh match things were getting tough for Sunil as he was unable to find his shooting boots in the WCQ 2022. But whenever doubts have cluttered Chettri has delivered to prove every one of his critics wrong.
Patience the key for India
With most of the possession, India created some close chances in the match. The first one came when Brandon Fernandes found Manvir making a solo run. Singh got the ball but his second touch being a little heavy, couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. Defender Chinglensana Singh rose on another occasion as his header from a corner was saved on the goalline by Bangladeshi defender Riadul.
At last, India got the much-desired goal on the 79th minute through a clinical header from the Captain, Leader, Legend Sunil Chhetri. And the second goal from the Veteran striker showed how much workload he can still manage to put for his side.
It was a crucial encounter going forward for the qualification for the 2023 Asian Cup. And Indians will be more than happy with the all-around performance from their players. As they showed enough composure and spirit to get the job done. On the other hand, this match was a manifest of the hard-working young Bangladeshi side, which seems promising and can achieve great things in the future.