India played out a draw against the higher-ranked China in a friendly as part of preparations for the Asian Cup. From the Indian point of view, the draw was as good as a win, considering the level of players China had.
Sandesh Jhingan wore the captain's armband in place of Sunil and rightly so, he rallied the defense with as much rigour he can ever produce. For some reason, bigger responsibility seems to be bringing out better results from him. One can argue that Stephen Constantine knew that it will be the defense that will be key against China, and hence wanted Sandesh as the captain.
But in the end, you can say that move worked wonders.
But, in this article, let us look at the areas in which the Indian football needs to improve going forward.
# 1. Disastrous Passing accuracy of Indian Players
Indian team had a passing accuracy of 61% compared to the much better accuracy (78%) shown by the Chinese team. The Indians had just 341 completed passes while Chinese team had 568 completed passes.
On many occasions, it was seen that the Indian players were clearing the ball from the dangerous positions hoping that the clearance will land with another Indian player. But every time, the clearance ball went to the Chinese, only for them to plot another attack at the Indian goal line.
Also, even while going forward on the attacks, the Chinese players were found to be closing in on the Indian players much faster, and not providing enough time and space on the ball. On such occasions too, rather than pulling the game back and keeping possession, hopeful shots were played by the Indians towards the Chinese half, thus losing possession. The difference in tackling and dribbling abilities of the two teams is another matter in this regard.
61% passing accuracy is just not acceptable for any international side, and even though the Indians salvaged a draw, the team needs to get their act together next time.