Indian Soccer Team, Back to Winning Track
After losing a match and managing a draw against a 2nd Div Portuguese Club, India tonight was back to its winning track. Houghton’s boys beat another 2nd Div Club Real Massamá SC 1-0. Striker Mohammed Rafi scored the lone goal of the match in the seventh minute to give India the lead.
Having already played six practice matches, India suffered the only lost in the fourth match against SU Sintrense by a lone goal after beating Atletico CP 1-0 both 2nd Div Clubs. The Fifth Match against Casa Pia AC, (2nd Div Club) on Wednesday, ended in a goalless draw. Kick starting their practice matches against a Portuguese Third Div Club Caldas SC and DR Monsanto, the Indians notch up a convincing win, beating the club’s 4-1 and 6-2 respectively.
Team India is slated to play practice match every Wednesday and Thursday. The result at this point doesn’t count much as Bob is gearing up the boys to play few friendlies against tougher European opponents in their built up for the AFC Asian Cup 2011.
With Sunil Chhetri already playing couple of matches and Baichung re-joining the squad, after nursing his thyroid problems, Team India looks in good shape. Although players like Samir Naik, Climax Lawrence and Steven Dias are still nursing minor injuries, Bob fielded as many players as possible in the last two games to give them match exposure.
In AFC Asian Cup 2011, India is placed in the ‘Group of Death’ with countries who are Top 5 in the Asian Circuit – Australia, S.Korea, Bahrain. So, to counter them, playing just against a 3rd Div or 2nd Div club will be futile. Exposure against tougher and stronger opponents will be vital in the process of the built up. Hopefully Bob has already drawn up strategies to counter the Parks and the Vidukas.