India played their second World Cup qualifying match against Guam, but the result was identical to the one five days ago when they lost to Oman at home. Indian coach Stephen Constantine selected the exact same line-up he had chosen for the Oman match.
Guam were the better team in the first half and they did not allow India to have a shot on target util the 60th minute. Sunil Chhetri scored again for the Blue Tigers but it was nothing more than a consolation as Guam won the game 2-1.
Here are the five talking points from the game:
The Guam squad have been playing together for quite some time now and looked like a well-drilled unit. The Indian midfield and defence had only 35 caps combined – the same as Guam captain Jason Cunliffe alone. India looked out of sorts throughout the game and eventually ended up playing long balls to Robin Singh.
Guam pressed India well the entire match to the point where their goalkeeper had almost nothing to do. He did not have a save to make in the first hour of the game.
Eventually, the Indians started taking shots from a distance, as they were not able to build up play.
Guam were in better shape
Like the Oman game, the Indian team did not look as good as their opponents in terms of fitness. Guam hassled them off the ball, pressed them till they played long and made sure they recovered the ball as quickly as possible. Towards the end, when India were chasing the game, it didn’t look like they had anything left in the tank.
A congested ISL schedule and an I-League campaign which saw half the season played in the middle of summer meant that the players were tired after having played non-stop since October. With a break till September, the players can recover their fitness levels and be ready to give the qualifiers one more go.