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Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019: India 2-5 DPR Korea – 5 talking points as Blue Tigers almost crash out

Avik Roy
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
14 Jul 2019, 06:57 IST

Second string Indian side conceded three goals in the first half
Second string Indian side conceded three goals in the first half

A poor first-half display saw India suffer their second successive match in the Hero Intercontinental Cup. The host nation lost 2-5 against DPR Korea and almost crashed out of the tournament.

India will play against Syria, the strongest side of this tournament. To qualify on the final, they not only have to win by huge margin, but also have to depend on the other teams.

India found themselves down by three goals within half an hour of the game. Though their performance improved in the second half and reduced the margin thanks to Lallianzuala Chhangte and Sunil Chhetri, defensive errors cost them again.

Here are the five talking points from the match.

#5 Stimac’s experiment with the first XI continues

Stimac made nine changes from the last game
Stimac made nine changes from the last game

It is a well-known fact that Indian coach Igor Stimac likes to experiment with his side. He has been in charge of the team for five matches. Till date, he has made 28 changes to the team and has handed debut to several talented youngsters. It would be no wrong to say, some of these experiments worked wonders, while other gambles failed poorly.

Against DPR Korea, he fielded nine new faces that played the game against Tajikistan. Starting from the first front, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was replaced by Amrinder Singh. Sandesh Jhinghan was reinstated at the heart of the defence with Subhasish Bose as his partner.

There was no Rahul Bheke as Pritam Kotal got back his favourite right-back position, with Jerry Lalrinzuala taking the left-back position. Apart from Rowllin Borges, there was no experienced face on the field. However, Jobby Justin was given his first start in the national colours.

Though India are almost on the verge of crashing out of the tournament, it is understandable why Stimac is obsessed with giving everyone a chance to show their mettle. He has a tougher task in hand in future and he needs to settle the first XI as quickly as possible. This is a friendly tournament and there is no shame in bowing out, if he has found the right combination of players. 

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