Intercontinental Cup 2018: India vs New Zealand, 3 things that went wrong for Sunil Chhetri and co
India played their final group game of the Intercontinental Cup against New Zealand at the Mumbai Football Arena on June 7. With one foot already in the finals, the Blue Tigers experimented a lot with the squad against the All Whites.
Players like Amrinder Singh, Salam Ranjan Singh, Narayan Das, Rowlin Borges, Md. Rafique and Balwant Singh all made starts while regular starters like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Anas, Sandesh Jhingan, Udanta Singh and Jeje sat on the bench.
It was the visitors who started strongly, controlling the game right from the word go. New Zealand put in crosses from both the flanks and ensured that the Indian defenders had constant trouble dealing with aerial balls.
India took the lead against the run of play in the 47th minute when Sunil Chhetri was rewarded with a deflected goal.
However, India’s lead was short-lived as New Zealand equalized almost immediately in the 48th minute through De Jong. The All Whites struck again and sealed the game in the 84th minute when Moses Dyer scored from a Sarpreet Singh pass.
The match ended 2-1 in favour of New Zealand, who grab the top position in the group with this win. Even though India have 6 points and a better goal difference, they stand 2nd due to this head-to-head result.
We take a look at 3 things that went wrong for India in this encounter:
#3 Unstable Defense
India lined up with Pritam Kotal, Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhasis Bose, and Narayan Das in defense, with Amrinder Singh manning the posts. It was evident from the very beginning that there was a huge communication gap between the defenders, leading to open spaces - which the New Zealand players made good use of.
One one hand, Amrinder was not at his best and fumbled crosses. He also looked a bit hesitant while coming out to clear balls. On the other hand, Subhasis and Salam clearly didn’t have any sort of communication going and India conceded the first goal with both the defender's ball watching while trying to mark the same man.
The build-up play from the back was ineffective, and most of the long balls that the defenders played went astray.