After going down to Singapore in a friendly three months ago, the Blue Tigers will look for a victory against Palestine before the all important AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers...With India all set to take on Palestine in an International Friendly, organized on a FIFA Match day, Goal.com looks at the key battles on the pitch that would probably decide the game.
|Abdelatif Bahadari||vs|| SUNIL CHHETRI
The Indian skipper needs no introduction, Sunil Chhetri will be the focal point of the Blue Tigers attack. The diminutive striker will have to cope with the experience of Abdelatif Bahadari. The veteran defender plies his trade in Saudi Arabia and will have a commanding presence in the Al-Fursan defence.
Chhetri may be outmatched aerially but his darting runs and quick feet could unsettle the veteran centre-back. The former Mohun Bagan striker is India's only European based player, which in turn would put the Sporting Lisbon 'B' striker under more pressure. Bahadari would have to do well to stop Chhetri, but if that is achieved, the Blue Tigers will definitely struggle. Chhetri will want to give a good account of himself on the International stage, as his first team appearances have been limited with Sporting B.
A lot of Palestine first team players are missing out on this game which will put the onus on the players available. The veteran defender, who has been recalled into the squad after two years or so, shall be expected to give a good account of himself while the Indian star will look to build on his impressive goal scoring record for the country.
|KHADER YOUSEF||vs||MEHTAB HUSSAIN|
Mehtab Hussain has been impressive in his displays for the club and country over the past year. Wednesday's friendly will see an intriguing midfield encounter as he will have to counter a more technically gifted player in the form of Khader Yousef. The latter is a good passer of the ball and tends to have a growing influence on the game.
The 28-year old is a very experienced player and the East Bengal medio will have his work cut out as the former will definately test the latter's credentials. On the other hand, Hussain has shown remarkable workrate and is a tough nut to crack as seldom does he allow players to get past him without suffering a tackle.
Yousef is the most capped player in the Palestine squad for the friendly against India and was integral to their fine run at the 2012 Challenge Cup where they reached the semi-finals.
This battle could be the most important one and the player who wins this duel would definetely boost his team's chances of a win.
With a host of first team players missing, one expects the Al-Fursan offensive line to be lead by the young talismanic striker Eyad Abugharqud. He is famous for his 2010-11 domestic season, where he was the top scorer in the Palestinian league with his tally of 20 goals in 22 appearances.
Abugharqud will definately be a handful, but one can be sure that India's trusted centre-back Gouramangi will be entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the striker in check. The Manipuri has a towering presence and it will be interesting to see if the Prayag United defender can keep the pacey runs of Abugharqud in control.
The defender has been far from his best in the league this season and a good performance against a tenacious attack would do wonders for his confidence.
The 24-year old could be tasked with the job of a lone striker up front and would look to make important runs and hold the ball up atregular intervals. Relatively new to international football, Abugharqud could still provide a moment of magic or two.