India’s top five performers against Philippines
Sportskeeda lists India’s top five performers in the 1-1 draw with Philippines on Friday. The sequence of the players is as per their position.
The most consistent I-League goalkeeper of the last three seasons started for the first time in an official match under Wim Koevermans and produced a near flawless display. Karanjit wasn’t kept busy as his defence provided him good protection but the Salgaocar custodian made a couple of vital saves including one late on when he showed great reflexes to deny Phil Younghusband. The 27-year-old also looked quite confident while dealing with crosses and was always decisive with his decision making as came out of his goal at the right time to intercept a couple of through passes.
It is never easy to make your international debut against a higher-ranked team but Khongjee didn’t show any nerves against Philippines and gave a solid performance. The 25-year-old instantly built a good understanding with Arnab Mondal although the duo was playing together for the first time. The Mohun Bagan central defender showed great maturity as he never unnecessarily committed final challenges and made one crucial goal-saving tackle in the first half when the score was 0-0. Khongjee couldn’t have wished for a better debut against a quality attack and thus should keep his place in the team for the Nepal friendly.
Arnab was the senior of the two centre-backs although this was only his seventh appearance for India and the East Bengal defender’s display showed that he is quickly learning at the international level. Arnab was guilty of getting too tight to the attackers and often dived in unnecessarily at SAFF 2013 but against the Philippines, he looked much more confident and got his positioning spot on. He was usually staying closest to Phil Younghusband and in the second half when Philippines looked dangerous, Arnab’s presence held the defence together as he was dominant aerially and also made some important tackles.
The central midfielder wasn’t in great form coming into this match as his performances dipped at SAFF 2013 and for his club Churchill Brothers in the I-League. Lenny couldn’t afford another below-par display for the sake of his place in first eleven and thus he raised his game, showing the discipline and work ethic that got him selected into the India team last year. His passing could have been better but the 26-year-old did well to break down several Philippines attacks in the first half and finished the game strongly despite having to do a lot of running against a technical better midfield.
The India captain may not admit it publicly but deep down he surely wanted to prove a point to Koevermans after being dropped in the SAFF 2013 final. Sunil enjoyed playing just behind Robin Singh as it allowed him the freedom to come deep and combine with the midfield. The Arjuna Awardee scored with a brilliant header after a well-rehearsed corner but his overall play was also impressive as he kept getting into good positions and was the only Indian player that caused Philippines problems with his movement throughout the game. This performance reminded everyone about his importance in this Indian team.Published 16 Nov 2013, 17:42 IST