The Indian national men's senior team are set to take on Chinese Taipei in the opening game of the Intercontinental Cup 2018 at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on June 1.
|Game||India v Chinese Taipei|
|Date||Friday, June 1|
|Time||8:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
|India TV channels||Online streams|
|Star Sports 2/2HD||Hotstar|
Key Players: Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh
Key Players: Will Donkin
India will look to get off to the best possible start in their Intercontinental campaign when they pit their wits against a relatively weaker Chinese Taipei side in the tournament opener on Friday.
The Blue Tigers are in preparation for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup as coach Stephen Constantine will be viewing this tournament as a chance to fine tune the team and test out new players before the continental extravaganza.
Though India are the highest-ranked team in the tournament (97), they are expected to be given a good fight by New Zealand and Kenya despite the two teams not bringing their first teams for the tournament. As such, a winning start against the 121st-ranked Chinese Taipei is paramount for Constantine.
The Englishman is expected to line-up with an attack that involves his two spearheads - Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sunil Chhetri. They are likely to be supported by Halicharan Narzary and Ashique Kuruniyan on the wings. Rowllin Borges will anchor the midfield with Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodiak expected to hold fort in central defence.
Chinese Taipei, on the other hand, will be full of confidence as well. Though they did not qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the team has been doing well under British coach Gary White and have attained at their highest-ever FIFA ranking.
They are in good form, having won a friendly competition involving the Philippines, Timor-Leste and Laos and registering a win over Singapore in their final Asian Cup qualifier. 17-year-old midfielder Will Donkin will be the biggest threat for Chinese Taipei. The youngster, contracted to Crystal Palace, already has five international caps to his name.
With a very strong side at his disposal, expect White to take the attack to India. However, Constantine and charges are favourites for this game and will look to live up to the tag.
Can Chinese Taipei spring a surprise on India? We'll wait and see.