India faces its final challenge to their first Asian Cup Round of 16 in the form of Bahrain, on Monday evening. The match that will be keenly watched both by the Indian fans and the other teams in the group to know their positions in the championship.
A hard-fought defeat to UAE in the previous match has kept Stephen Constantine and Co waiting to book a place in the next round. The fixture with the hosts would have taught the team a lot and will pump the much-needed confidence of impressing against a higher ranked side.
Ahead of the big clash with Bahrain, we take a look at the possible lineups that will take the field at Sharjah on Monday.
It wouldn't be a surprise if India fields the same lineup for the third consecutive match. Though not as good as against Thailand, the players were mostly hitting the objectives. A few dull outfits were Halicharan Narzary on the left wing and Anas Edathodika at the defence. However, Constantine is expected to offer both yet another start.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu wouldn't be at any chance missing this crucial match day. Subhasish Bose and Pritam Kotal will occupy the two wings, with the latter expecting a better performance than the open flank against UAE. Anas Edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan are expected to rectify their mistakes against Bahrain.
The midfield will again be relying on the possession winnings skills of Pronay Halder and Anirudh Thapa. The coach would be wanting a more electric left wing from Halicharan Narzary. Udanta Singh will prove a great utility with Gurpreet's long goal kicks aiming the right winger.
Sunil Chhetri was once again vested the attacking duties along with Ashique Kuruniyan. Though the duo couldn't get a goal in the previous match, there were instances of good combination being developed on through balls. Therefore, Constantine might not be risking a change there too.
India (4-4-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subhasish Bose, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, Halicharan Narzary, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri
Bahrain cannot be ruled out based on their results in the Asian Cup. Their lineup does have individually potent players in all departments but it is combinations that haven't worked very well at UAE.
Syed Shubbar will be Reds' custodian yet again. The defence line will be formed by Ahmed Juma, Waleed Al Hayam, Hamad Al-Shamsan and Sayed Isa. The stopper backs Al Hayam and Al Shamsan might be troubled by Ashique Kuruniyan with an exact height as both.
The midfield will probably have Sayed Saeed playing on the left flank and Ali Madan on the right. The two central midfielders will be Abdulwahab Ali Alsafi and Komail Al Aswad, who has been doing decent works recently.
The two strikers in Miroslav Soukup's plans will be Jamal Rasheed and Mohamed Al Romaihi, both equally dangerous in attack. Al Romaihi would be the key man in the lineup, to whom most of the attacking build-ups will go to.
Bahrain (4-2-3-1): Sayed Shubbar Alawi, Ahmed Juma, Waleed Al Hayam, Hamad Al-Shamsan, Sayed Redha Issa, Sayed Dhiya Saeed, Komail Al Aswad, Abdulwahab Al Safi, Ali Madan, Jamal Rasheed, Mohamed Al Romaihi