Wednesday, March 5, 2014

India vs Bangladesh - An In-depth Review

India vs Bangladesh Friendly
Bangladesh held by India to a 2-2 draw
FIFA International Friendly
05.03.2014
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda
India 2-2 Bangladesh
India: Sunil Chhetri(14th, 88th)
Bangladesh: Mithun Chowdhury(52nd), Hemanta Biswas(64th)

Two Sunil Chhetri goals were just enough to grab a fortunate draw against an extremely hard working Bangladeshi sides who deserved at least a victory. Indian Football fans would have hoped for a far better performance from their players, who were considered favorites against Bangladesh. Much to their dismay, except for one or two, most of the players lacked proper application and motive, while Bangladesh on the other hand were very much organized in their play. For most of the period they dominated the game while the Blue Tigers were chasing shadows. Luckily for India, captain Sunil Chhetri was on a different level altogether, scoring two fine goals and rescuing a humiliating defeat in the process. First goal came from a neat one-two between Sunil and his Bengaluru FC team mate Robin Singh, while the second goal was a Chhetri Special as his fierce left footed effort rifled the net minutes before the full time.

Sunil Chhetri
Sunil's two goals saved India from a defeat
against Bangladesh
Either fitness or perhaps a strategic blunder, either of the two might have been the issue as Indian players were reluctant to commit for the loose ball. Off the ball, Bangladesh pressed hard when they lost possession, while on the other hand, Indian players were playing very defensive football, and letting their opponents come at them. On the ball, Indian midfielders were guilty of putting array of mis-passes. While Mehtab Hossain proved to be the defensive shield in the first half, Lenny was caught off guard most of the time chasing Bangladeshi players without any proper motive. The tall and lanky midfielder, was found guilty of handing over possession on many occasions when he had the ball. In the first half, Clifford Miranda looked good on the left making some trademark darting runs, but on the opposite side, Francis Fernandes was finding it hard to even trap the ball properly. The defense stood firm in the first half as India went onto the break 1-0 ahead.

In the second half, Mehtab Hossain had to be replaced because of injury, which meant Rocus Lamare had the opportunity to show his distribution skills, which he failed to do. Clifford Miranda was replaced by Victorino Fernandes who operated from the right, which meant Francis went to the left side. India lost whatever control they had on the match after the two substitutions. Bangladesh equalized in the 51st minute from Mithun Chowdhury's simple tap in into an open net with the Indian defense caught napping. Balwant Singh was finally introduced into action as Robin Singh was replaced in the 63rd minute. Of the two sides, Bangladesh pressed hard for second goal, and they were rewarded as a dangerous cross from the right was guided to the Indian net unintentionally by Arnab Mondal's stretched leg in an attempt to clear the ball. India went all out in the final quarter for the equalizer as a humiliating defeat was knocking the doors.

Indian defenders were still perhaps unaware of Robin Singh's substitution as they continued playing unnecessary long balls to the forwards which were dealt quite comfortably by Bangladeshi defense. Francis Fernanades looked good on the right, but some tame efforts from the midfield duo of Lenny and Rocus Lamare saw the game slipping from the Blue Tigers' hands. Lenny Rodrigues created some good chances at the end, but he was also found guilty of wasting some good balls with some awkward long range efforts lacking proper technique. The man-in-form Sunil Chhetri finally came to the rescue for India in the final minutes of the game, as he blasted the ball past Bangladeshi custodian with a left footed effort, to make the scoreline 2-2. There was more drama to be witnessed as Bangladesh player went clean through the Indian defense from a diagonal ball only to be fouled by an out-rushing Subrata Paul outside the box, and referee not giving the advantage despite Bangladeshi forward being on his feet and a chance to score. The scoreline remained 2-2 as both teams settled for a draw, with Bangladesh perhaps deserving more than just a draw.

Indian team's performance was no less than poor, if not worse except for the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Paul(despite the sending off). 

Wim Koevermans
Did Wim Koeverman select the best bunch of players?
  • What do you think of the reason for the draw against Bangladesh? 
  • Was it Wim Koevermans fault for not selecting the best set of players or was it the players, not giving their best on the field? 
  • Do you think the second half substitutions changed the course of the match?
  • Was it a right play to go with a single striker by Wim Koevermans with Sunil Chhetri playing the role of a "FALSE-9"?

Drop in your answers in comments section.

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