India, Nepal to vie in second friendly todayBruised by the 1-1 draw, India are expected to come up with all power in the second and final friendly on Sunday.
Bruised by the 1-1 draw against Nepal, under fire Team India will come up with a winning ambition when they vie in the second and last international friendly against the hosts at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwor on Sunday.
Second-half substitute Anirudh Thapa hit back for India to cancel Anjan Bista’s first-half lead in the first friendly against Nepal on Thursday.
Whatever the outcome of the first match on Friday, analysing the team in terms of India’s technical aspect and the past results, the draw against South Asian giants was no less than victory for Nepal.
But for India, who had arrived in Nepal with a “must win” target, it was similar to a humiliating defeat against the minnows.
Though both teams are competing to fine-tune their preparations for the SAFF Championship that begins on October 1, both friendlies against Nepal and SAFF are essentially a part of India’s preparations for third and final round of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
While India are top ranked in the sub-continent at 105th position, Nepal are placed 168th. Victory against Nepal will strengthen India’s bid for pot 1 in the qualifiers but defeat against Nepal and a poor outcome in the SAFF Championship is likely to demote India to pot 2 or 3 for the qualifiers.
“We will play to win both matches. We want to make Nepali proud of our team,” coach Abudllah Almutairi had said on the eve of Nepal's first match against India on Thursday. He apologised to Nepali fans for the draw. Same will be his ambition when they play the second friendly.
But India’s Croatian coach Igor Stimac is under pressure to deliver winning results against Nepal. In the past 20 matches, India have won 13 and Nepal 2 while five matches finished in draws including that on Thursday.
The India coach, appointed in May 2019, managed a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the Asian Cup and World Cup joint qualifiers.
Following the draw against Nepal, #stimacout trended on Twitter India.
After the draw against Nepal, the Croatian coach said the field condition (wet outfield), defensive approach and counter attack played part in the outcome. However after the draw in the first match, India are expected to put their all energy to silence the roaring home crowd at the Dasharath Stadium.
As said by coach Stimac, Nepal mostly played defensive football. But they came with a fearless approach and dared to come up with an offensive mindset against the mighty opponents. They are expected to come up with the same approach in the second friendly as well.
Skipper and goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong will create history of winning the highest 74 caps when he guards the post surpassing former captain Biraj Maharjan’s record of 73 caps. Anjan Bista, Suman Lama and Nawayug Shrestha are expected to take charge of Nepal’s attacking line-up.
Ananta Tamang, Suman Aryal, Dinesh Rajbanshi and Pujan Uprakoti are likely to be deployed in the defence line-up while Gautam Shrestha, Tej Tamang and Ayush Ghalan are likely to be deployed as midfielders.
The match will kick off at 17:30 NST.