The Blue Tigers take on the Gorkhalis yearning to avenge their loss at the SAFF Championships, Nepal though are no turn-overs...
In what is turning out to be billed as a perfect grudge match, India will host Nepal at the Kanchenjunga stadium in Siliguri with nothing but vengeance on their mind as they go about seeking retribution for the humiliation spun on them by the away side in the group stages of the South Asian Football Federation’s (SAFF) Championship. Nepal, however, look to emphasize their new found dominance over the hosts with another triumph.
The Blue Tigers look to end Nepal’s recent record against them where they have won and drawn each.
"Past results do not matter. They do not come into any account. What matters is how we play on the day. Of course, it's not only about Nepal but whichever match we play, we try to win - whether it's a lower ranked team or a higher ranked team, it doesn't matter. So, yes, we will go all out and try to get a positive result out of the match [against Nepal]," explained Clifford Miranda during a training session.
India’s Dutch coach, Wim Koevermans, will be encouraged to start with the same team that drew with the Philippines in an international friendly last week. He will however expect his young side do a good job and gain the all-important win against Nepal. He faces a strategic headache as he will need to choose the right team to trench repeated avalanches of Gorkhali counter-attacks.
The in-form Sunil Chhetri will look to become India’s all-time leading goal-scorer if he scores and he’ll be hoping to do so in style. With all the IMG-Reliance contracted players further sidelined, this is an opportunity for several others to cement their place in the national team.
Jack Stefanowski, the Nepal coach is optimistic that his side can trump India as he finds his team in a transition phase. Without the options of Bimal Magar, Rohit Chand or Bharat Khawas at his disposal, all out due to personal commitments, he is expected to field a refreshed side. Jagjit Shreshta and Raju Tamang are also doubtful starters.
“It’s a good chance to give some other players a chance to start, to step up and see what they can do. So, it’s a nice balance between coming out and getting a result against India and also taking a look at some other guys,” opined the American. Furthermore, he will seek to use the competitive edge that his side over the hosts, a psychological factor, and setup his team to counter-attack well as he knows this Indian side will be desperate to get the goals.
The coach will also look to benefit from the form of a large number of players who have led their teams on a good run in the Governors Cup.
A fantastic recipe that such a gripping tie deserves. Lose and India will be widely panned while a win for either team could do wonders for the confidence of a large number of fresh faces in the squads. A fascinating strategic battle waits.
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