The Indian football team once again disappointed their fans as they went down 1-2 against minnows Guam in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Brandon McDonald scored the opening goal of the match in the 35th minute and Travis Nicklaw increased the lead in the 64th minute, while Sunil Chhetri scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute.
On paper, India were the favourites to win this tie as they were placed 33 places higher than Guam in the FIFA rankings. After a spirited performance last week against Oman in the opening match a lot was expected from Stephen Constantine’s men.
From the very beginning though, India failed to get a grip of the game. They continued with their long ball style which proved ineffective yet again. Guam, on the other hand, looked more positive with their approach and attacked more, testing the Indian defenders.
India conceded the first goal again
Guam could have taken the lead at the half-hour mark when a cross from right flank reached Shane Malcolm who had just the free net in front of him. Unfortunately for him though, Malcolm’s effort went wide from a close distance.
The hosts then finally drew first blood in the 38th minute. Ryan Guy floated a long throw inside the penalty box which was easily headed home by Brandon McDonald.
In the second half, the situation for the visitors did not improve much as India lacked finesse in their game. Guam started dominating again and created more chances.
In the 56th minute, the home team got another easy chance to increase the lead when Malcolm’s cross found Travis Nicklaw inside the penalty box. Nicklaw just had to beat Subrata Pal, but his header went above the post.
In the 64th, much to India’s disbelief, Nicklaw received a long ball. He shielded Arnab Mondal well, turned and unleashed a long-range shot which went past Pal and found the back of the net.
India lacked the fighting spirit that they showed against Oman
That practically spelled doom for India as the boys in blue looked hapless and clueless with a two-goal deficit. Jackichand Singh was immediately replaced by Jeje Lalpekhlua, but Robin Singh was still at the field without doing much.
Subrata Pal pulled off quite a few quality saves and avoided further embarrassment for India. Just when 90 minutes were over and injury time began, Rino Anto ran down the right flank and floated a cross towards Sunil Chhetri who headed home the consolation goal.
It was once again a disappointing show from the Indians. They have lost their opening two games of the qualifiers and are now placed at the bottom of the table. Guam, on the other hand, are at the top with 6 points from 2 games.