Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019: 3 Reasons why India drew 1-1 with Syria
India held its own in a tough challenge against a spirited Syria team and came out with a 1-1 draw in their last match of the Hero Intercontinental Cup. The host nation, who won the tournament last year, finished at the bottom of the table this time with a single point in their kitty.
India by far played their best game of the tournament as their performance improved quite impressively. The defence ticked most of their boxes this time and the youngsters also impressed.
Both the teams that participated in this match are out of the tournament, as Tajikistan and DPR Korea will meet each other in the final, to be held on July 19.
Here are the three reasons why India drew the game:
#3 Overall improved defensive performance
Since Igor Stimac came in to coach the Indian football team, the defensive performance came up in discussion in almost every match. His constant chopping and changing was overbearing to some Indian fans and pundits who were desperate for a win.
However, Tuesday was no exception. Stimac against shuffled his team’s defensive line-up and this time, Rahul Bheke teamed up with young Narender Gahlot in the central defence. Pritam Kotal and Mandar Rao Dessai had taken to full-back roles.
What many thought would be disastrous turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Indian fans. Bheke, who disappointed last time when he played at the heart of the defence, came out with flying colours this time. He was rock solid throughout the match and provided the much-needed solidity in the team. He combined well the Narender to keep the Syrian attackers away throughout the match.
Pritam too did his job but sometimes he looked a little bit shaky. He used his experience to keep the team together and maintain momentum.
The only weak point in the Indian defence was the left-back position, where Mandar was stationed. It seemed Mandar did a good job, but not his substitute. Jerry Lalrinzuala came in with barely 15 minutes left in the game and just a couple of minutes later, he conceded the only penalty of the game, through which Syrian captain Firsa Alkhatib equalized.
Jerry nearly committed the same mistake again but this time he got a reprieve from the referee, who directed a free-kick to the home side, much to the chagrin of Alkhatib. Jerry’s mistake was the only point in an otherwise solid performance from this Indian side.