FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: 3 reasons why India failed to beat Bangladesh
India struggled to beat Bangladesh in a tightly packed Salt Lake Stadium as the two neighbouring nations played out a 1-1 draw.
Igor Stimac's selections raised a few eyebrows as he picked a centre-back pairing of Anas Edathodika and Adil Khan in the absence of Sandesh Jhingan. Rahul Bheke played at right back while Mandar Rao Dessai was stationed on the opposite flank.
Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad were pulling the strings in centre of the midfield with Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan playing on the wings. Captain Sunil Chhetri was back in the side as he accompanied Manvir Singh up front.
Saad Uddin opened the scoring for the visitors in the 42nd minute. Jamie Day's side played well and held on to their slender lead till the 89th minute, when Adil Khan headed a corner in to salvage a point for the Blue Tigers.
About an year ago, Chhetri asked the Indians to come and support the football team, promising that the players will give their all for the nation. That wasn't the case on Tuesday in front of a packed Salt Lake Stadium as the Indian players slowed down the pace of play and failed to create and convert chances against the 187th ranked Bangladesh side.
Below, we are going to breakdown the reasons why India failed to put Bangladesh to the sword in Kolkata.
#1 Tight defending from the Bangladesh players
Jamie Day had a proper game plan going into the match as he set up his defenders to block and clear while the front three were ready to counter-attack at an instant.
Skipper Jamal Bhuyan was a shield for the defense throughout the whole match as every Indian attack had to go through him. The talented midfielder usually initiated attacks for the side while also man-marking Sunil Chhetri and stopping the attacks as per Day's game plan.
The counter-attacks were also threatening as Indian defenders were often caught sleeping off the ball. Bangladesh created many opportunities and could have even won the game ahd they finished better.
#2 Slow and wayward passing from the Blue Tigers
Igor Stimac took over the head coach post vacated by Stepehen Constatine with a promise of better football for the next few years but his ideas are not being implemented by the players on the field.
Stimac's plan for the match against Bangladesh was to play out from the back but the defenders were too slow to pass on many occasions. In the eighth minute, Anas Edathodika gave away the ball cheaply and Rahul Bheke had to mop up for India. At the half hour mark, Adil Khan tried some trickery and gave the ball away, forcing Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to come up with a neat save and keep the scorers at 0-0.
Anirudh Thapa's passing was wayward on the night and Sahal Abdul Samad was played too deep to have an impact on the match. Ashique Kuruniyan's overcooked crosses often had too much power and missed their intended targets.
#3 An off day for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers to ever play for India. He is tall, anticipates crosses well and has good positioning along with his excellent long ball playing abilities.
A free kick from the left side in the 42nd minute prompted Gurpreet to come out and catch the ball but he failed to do so. This allowed Saad Uddin to head the ball into the back of an empty net and give Bangladesh the lead.
In the 55th minute, Ibrahim ran down the left wing and delivered a cross-shot into the box. Gurpreet had no idea how to deal with it but he got lucky as the ball hit the crossbar and was subsequently cleared.
In the 73rd minute, the 27-year old goalkeeper was very easily beaten as a Bangladesh player chipped him. Adil Khan's last-ditch clearance spared his blushes and kept India in the match.
Gurpreet was not at his best tonight and he will hope to bounce back in next month's FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Oman.