India began their King's Cup campaign on a disappointing note as they lost to Curacao 3-1 in the semi-finals. The 101st ranked nation will now face either Vietnam or Thailand in the third-place playoffs and would like to end their campaign with a win.
India started off with a 4-2-3-1 formation with the duo of Rahul Bheke and Sandesh Jhingan in the center and Pritam Kotal and Subhasish Bose guarding the right and left wing respectively. Pronay Halder and Brandon Fernandes positioned themselves in front of the back four whereas Lallianzuala Chhangte and Udanta Singh were given the freedom to maraud the left and right wing respectively.
Sahal Abdul Samad stationed himself in the attacking midfield role and Sunil Chhetri led the pack. Raynier Fernandes, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, and Michael Soosairaj got their chance to prove themselves in the second half and, they played accordingly to the team's plans.
In this article, we look at players who shined for India (Hits) and those who underperformed (Flops).
#5 Hit- Sunil Chhetri
Sunil Chhetri wasn't at his usual best but performed far better than other regulars in the team like Pronay Halder, Pritam Kotal, and Subhasish Bose who committed some grave errors. The captain successfully converted his penalty in the 31st minute to give India a ray of hope for a comeback.
It might look simple to score a penalty but had he not put in all his power into the shot, the ball wouldn't have gone in. By doing so, Chhetri levelled Gerd Muller and Robbie Keane in terms of the number of goals scored in international matches.
He also played a lovely pass to Sahal in the late stages of the first half, who in turn set up Udanta with a first-time shot, which went away for a corner. It was India's best chance in the first half to get one more goal back.
With Brandon Fernandes gone and Raynier Fernandes and Amarjit Kiyam's previous corner-kicks being a disaster, Chhetri stepped up to take a corner-kick in the dying embers of the game. It whizzed past the entire Curacao defense and Jhingan stooped low to head it goalbound. However, the rival goalkeeper's brilliant reflexes meant the ball went away for another corner.
Chhetri wasn't at his usual best but still created a lot of problems. Once he settles with the new coach Igor Stimac, he would perform a lot better.