Plenty to chew over for Savio Medeira, as the Blue Tigers slumped to a 3-0 loss against Berti Vogts side.....
The Blue Tigers, just like in the match against Oman, went behind early when Vuqar Nadirov put Azerbaijan ahead. Mohir Shukurov added a second from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute before Nizami Hajiyev put the icing on the cake for Berti Vogts side by scoring in the 84th minute.
Savio Medeira made seven changes to the team that started against Oman with Gouramangi Moirangthem, who was the captain for the day, Gurjinder Singh, Joaquim Abranches and Sushil Kumar Singh being the only players to keep their place in the team.
Azerbaijan, who started as the favourites for the tie, took the lead as early as in the 3rd minute when a mistake by Subhasish Roychowdhury gave the possession away to the European side and the ball was immediately played to Vuqar Nadirov, who made no mistake in slotting the ball past the Dempo SC keeper.
India were visibly shocked by the early goal and found it difficult to build any sort of momentum and almost went 2-0 down when Mohir Shukurov’s cross found a team-mate whose shot was brilliantly palmed away by Roychowdhury.
The Blue Tigers were being visibly outplayed in midfield as Berti Vogts side were just too quick and skilful for the Indians. Rauf Aliyev and Rail Melikov, in particular. found plenty of joy down India’s left wing, with Gurjinder really looking out of his depth.
The Europeans put crosses into the box at will, but seemed to be missing the final touch in the box. Shukurov then came close to doubling his team’s tally when he was clean through on goal, but with plenty of time to choose his spot, the player hit the ball straight at the Indian custodian who only had to make a regulation save.
The Gabala midfielder made amends from the spot soon after, placing the ball firmly in the left bottom corner, after being brought down in the box by Raju Gaikwad in the 43rd minute .
A Better Performance Than Against Oman?
The referee eventually blew the halftime whistle, much to Savio Medeira’s relief.
The second half began with India showing more positivity than the first. Francis Fernandes set up Joaquim Abranches with a brilliant cross into the box, but the Dempo striker’s shot was palmed over by the keeper for the corner.
India continued to show some purpose in attack and made another couple of forays into the Azerbaijan box, but couldn’t force a goal in.
Eventually Berti Vogts side started dominating possession again but the Indian defence, just like their attackers, was far better in the second half and the European nation found it difficult to get past them with their best chance in the first half an hour of the half falling to Viktoria Sadiqov, who blasted over from the edge of the box.
The tempo of the game visibly slowed down as the half progressed, with India able to get hold of the ball but often messing it up in the final third with loose touches at important moments.
Substitute Nizami Hajiyev then saw his snapshot go just wide of the post. However he went one better with his next try, putting Azerbaijan further ahead in the 84th minute after being set-up by Vuqar Nadirov.
India then resorted to playing long-balls upfront in a bid to get a consolation goal but Berti Vogts men dealt with it reasonably well.
Eventually the match ended 3-0 in favour of Azerbaijan; leaving plenty to ponder over for Savio Medeira, with his team having conceded eight goals and scored just one in two friendly matches in the build-up to the Challenge Cup in Nepal.
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