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Match Preview: FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier - India vs Nepal

India host Nepal tomorrow for the two-legged World Cup qualifier game at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati. According to AFC’s norms, the six worst ranked teams will play two-legged qualifier games before the victorious teams progress to the main round robin stage.

India vs Nepal

India host Nepal tomorrow for the two-legged World Cup qualifier game at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati. According to AFC’s norms, initially 12 teams will play two-legged qualifier games after which the victorious 6 teams will progress to the main round robin stage.

India, ranked 171, are scheduled to play against Nepal who are ranked 180. We can expect a good clash among the two evenly matched opponents. The last time the two teams met, India won the encounter 2-0, courtesy goals from Sunil Chhetri and Clifford Miranda.

Venue

India is scheduled to play the first leg of the World Cup qualifier at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. The stadium is generally used for football matches and athletics events. It is a one tier stadium with a capacity of 35,000 and a roof only over the main stand.

There are only a limited number of seats in the main stand and the rest is just a standing area.

Kick-off

March 12, 2015: 7:00 pm – India (IST). The match will be telecast live on DD North East and News Time Assam.

Possible starting line up

India (4-4-2): Subrata Pal (c); Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Arnab Mondal, Keegan Perreira; Francis Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues, Cavin Lobo, Mandar Rao Desai; Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh.

India will play their first international match under newly appointed coach Stephen Constantine after the British coach replaced the Dutch Wim Koevermans. Constantine has reshaped the team by bringing in fresh young faces to replace the older batch of players.

He has also appointed a new captain, Subrata Pal, who replaced Sunil Chhetri. Under the English coach, India are expected to start in a 4-4-2 formation. Sunil Chhetri is expected to be partnered by Bengaluru FC club mate Robin Singh up front. Left-back Keegan Perreira’s good form with Bengaluru FC may earn him a maiden international cap.

Likely formations

Nepal (5-4-1): Kiran Chemjong; Biraj Maharjan, Rohit Chand, Sagar Thapa (c), Sandip Rai, Rabin Shrestha; Bikram Lama, Raju Tamang, Jagjit Shrestha, Bhola Silwal; Santosh Shahukhala

Nepal is likely to start with 5 defenders. The versatile Rohit Chand will probably move down from his natural central midfield role to being a center back. Santosh Shahukhala may start as the lone striker after his impressive form in league games.

Key Battles

Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri vs Rohit Chand

Everybody is aware of what Sunil Chhetri is capable of. He is a real threat against any defence and can impose a lot of pressure on the opponent. He is possibly the best striker among the SAFF nations.

Rohit Chand, who has a vast experience of playing for the national side will be in charge of marking the Indian striker. Rohit had played for I-League side HAL few seasons ago, and so he will have ideas about Indian playing styles.

Jagjit Shrestha (Image courtesy – Givemegoal Nepal)

Jagjit Shrestha vs Pritam Kotal

Jagjit Shrestha is a young crafty winger in the Nepal side who can offer a lot of threat to the Indian defence. He has experience of training with German club VFB Stuttgart. Indian right-back Pritam Kotal will aim to keep Shrestha under strict vigilance.

Prediction

India 1-0 Nepal

You can follow live commentary of the match here – India vs Nepal Live

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