India sealed the third place in tje King’s Cup Invitational tournament by beating hosts Thailand 1-0 in Buriram on Saturday. Anirudh Thapa scored the only goal of the match in the 17th minute.
This is India’s first win under new coach Igor Stimac and the Croatian would surely be happy with the performance of the plauers.
Stimac changed most of the players of his starting line-up in order to give every member of the sqiad a chance. The players put up a good performance to prove that the AFC Asian Cup win against Thailand was no fluke.
The hosts played better football than their Indian counterparts and enjoyed laudable home support. But it was not enough for the Sirisak Yodyardthai-coached side who missed a few golden opportunities.
Let us discuss the talking points of the match:
#5 Second string Indian side lives up their reputation
Before the tournament, new Indian coach Igor Stimac made one thing clear - he would not concentrate on the results. Rather, he would like to give all the players a chance.
The Croatian coach did exactly that by fielding a second-string in this game, a team that had no Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Udanta Singh, India’s best players.
The first change came from the first line of defence. Gurpreet was replaced by Mumbai City custodian Amrinder Singh, who made a couple of good saves throughout the match to earn a much-deserved clean sheet.
Adil Khan, donning national colours after seven years, was brought in to the heart of defence beside Sandesh Jhingan, who wore the captain’s armband. As a result, Rahul Bheke was pushed to his favourite position, right-back.
Delhi Dynamos midfielder Vinit Rai was introduced just ahead of the defence. Anirudh Thapa replaced Sahal Abdul Samad at the heart of the midfield and was arguably the best Indian player on the pitch.
Farukh Choudhary took the place of Udanta and Balwant Singh was deployed as the lone striker.
Despite playing with a second string side, all the players tried to make their performance count.