Afghanistan vs India, FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier | 3 Key players for India
Igor Stimac will be put to a stern test away from home after the disappointing outing against Bangladesh last month. India are currently placed fourth in Group E with two points from three games. Although the Blue Tigers managed to hold Asian champions Qatar to a draw, the results against Oman and Bangladesh were not satisfactory. Anything less than a win against Afghanistan will downturn India's hopes of progressing to the next round.
The Croatian manager will be aware of the situation but will again be under pressure due to some key absentees. While Sandesh Jhingan has been ruled out with an injury, Anas Edathodika is known to return to India following family emergencies.
With a good bunch of players in the squad, Stimac will try to overcome the obstacles. Here, we look at three players who will have a key role in the gaffer's plans against Afghanistan.
#3 Adil Khan
India's defence has been a headache for Stimac for some time now. The backline had finally formed shape against Qatar, winning a cleansheet under Sandesh Jhingan and Adil Khan. However, Sandesh was injured before the Bangladesh fixture and Stimac was forced to slot in Anas Edathodika. Since the ATK center-back too will be unavailable for this contest, the coach will have to look for a new face to partner Adil.
Adil has stood tall in the defence ever since his return to the national side after seven years. The Hyderabad FC player is sure to be in charge of the back-four against the Afghans. With his excellent physique, the 31-year old will be beneficial for India in dealing with aerial balls.
Adil will have to be unmoved at the centre-back position for India to showcase a clinical defensive performance. A lot will depend on the Goan-born player, who is expected to have young Narender Gahlot as his partner in defence.
Adil Khan will be a notable figure in the opposition box during set-pieces. He had scored India's game-saving equalizer against Bangladesh through a header.