India 0 - 0 China: 5 takeaways from the game
Despite the game being labelled as a friendly, India knew a draw, if not a victory against China would be a huge milestone for the Blue Tigers and also provide momentum for the AFC Asia Cup next January. With India ranked 97 and China ranked 76, a draw was also a positive result. The Red Dragons dominated the game having the majority of the ball and hitting the crossbar on several occasions. A few stunning saves from Bengaluru FC goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu ensured that India kept a clean sheet and went home with a draw.
Constantine and co have started their journey to the AFC Asia Cup with a great result. India will also take on the likes of Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the near future, games which will provide a good assessment for the Indian team to gauge how well they can perform in the Asia Cup. While the friendlies provide the option to experiment, India must also look to pick up wins as it gives them momentum going forward. The draw was a huge positive as the development of football in China in the past few years has been on a much larger level compared to India.
Here are five takeaways from the game.
#1. Playing players in their natural positions
Subhasish Bose is one of the best left-backs in the country, if not the best. However, under Constantine, Narayan Das usually got the nod over Subhasish Bose. Since friendlies are a good time to experiment, Constantine decided to start Subhasish Bose as the centre-half partner to the new captain, Sandesh Jhingan. However, it wasn't very successful.
Subhasish Bose has played left-back for most of his career and also started his campaign this season with Mumbai City FC as a left-back. Dealing with the physicality and pace of the Chinese forwards was always going to be a tough task for the 23-year-old. Much of the responsibility to defend fell on Sandesh Jhingan and the Indian defence was caught out frequently.
While Subhasish did make a few significant tackles, it was clear that he was uncomfortable at that position and was always second best in aerial duels and one-on-ones. Experimenting with the squad during friendlies is a good procedure to find the right starting 11 but the team must retain the natural positions of all players in order to give the best fight to it's opponents.