The last time India played in the Asian Cup in 2011, Bahrain were among the top five sides in the continent and had thrashed India 5-2 in the group stage.
Ismail Abdul-Latif found the back of the net four times as Bahrain eased past Bob Houghton’s India. Gouramangi Singh and Sunil Chheri were on the score-sheet with Renedy Singh and Abhishek Yadav playing a part in both goals.
However, this time around India are placed higher in the FIFA rankings and are also ahead in Group A as compared to Bahrain who find themselves at the bottom with just a point to show. After a draw against UAE and a defeat to Thailand, Bahrain have a difficult task on hand as they need to beat India in order to have a slim chance of qualifying.
India, on the other hand, started their Asian Cup campaign on a high with a 4-1 win over Thailand but succumbed to a disappointing 2-0 defeat against UAE in their second match.
Ahead of the India match, Bahrain forward Abdulla Yousif acknowledged that Stephen Constantine's side are a difficult opponent.
"It’s a do-or-die match for us. India will be a very tough opposition and we must be positive and play strong to achieve victory."
Bahrain assistant coach Khalid Taj praised the Indian contingent and believes that they are among the most improved teams in the continent.
Taj said, “We totally respect the Indian team who performed amazingly in the first two matches; they are one of the improved teams in Asia. We are working on preparing the players physically and mentally as well. (We are also) focusing on the technical aspects to secure a victory.”