SAFF Championship 2021: Player ratings from India's 1-1 draw against 10-man Bangladesh

Indian starting XI for their 2021 SAFF Championship opener against Bangladesh. (image - @IndianFootball)
Indian starting XI for their 2021 SAFF Championship opener against Bangladesh. (image - @IndianFootball)

The Indian football team launched their 2021 SAFF Championship campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Bangladesh. The match took place at the National Football Stadium in Malé on Monday afternoon.

Carrying a 1-0 lead at half-time thanks to Sunil Chhetri, India felt comfortable going for the win. The faith increased after Bangladesh had a man sent off. Bishwanath Ghosh was red-carded following a last-man challenge on Liston Colaco in the early minutes of the second half.

Even after going a man up and creating many dangerous chances, India failed to extend their advantage. The Blue Tigers were punished by 18-year-old Yeasin Arafat. He was left unmarked in the box and headed in from close range following a corner.

The Bangla Tigers held on for a precious point. It puts them top of the standings in the round-robin stage of the 2021 SAFF Championship with four points in two matches. India are third with one point for now, but have three more matches to come.

Here are the Blue Tigers' player ratings out of 10:

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - 8

Gurpreet didn't really put a foot wrong in today's game. Just before half-time, he saved a brilliant shot from Biplo Ahmed. The shot came following a rapid Bangladeshi counter which caught out the Indian defence. Deserved a clean sheet but was denied by some awful defending which led to the equalizer.

Pritam Kotal - 5

Kotal's poor ball control gave away a cheap corner which led to the Bangladeshi goal. He conceded some cheap fouls and his crossing was off as well. Not a completely bad game for Kotal as he did release Udanta on the right flank who assisted Chhetri for the opener.

Rahul Bheke - 3

Bheke's days in the national team should definitely be numbered. India are badly missing Jhingan at centre-back. Bheke was troubled a lot by the pace of Matin Miah and Rakib Hossain. Didn't really offer anything going forward either.

Subhasish Bose - 4

Bose failed to catch Yeasin Arafat's run in the six-yard box for the equalizer. He didn't contribute enough in attack either. Had more opportunities to move forward in the second half after the withdrawal of Liston but still couldn't find the final delivery in the box.

Subhasish Bose had a difficult afternoon at left back. (Image - @IndianFootball)
Subhasish Bose had a difficult afternoon at left back. (Image - @IndianFootball)

Chinglensana Singh - 5

Sana started off well, building most of India's attacks from the back. He attempted a lot of long balls, but was erratic at times. Played a part in Bangladesh's goal as Arafat was able to score from a free header after Sana drifted away from him.

Glan Martins - 5

Glan played in his traditional defensive midfield position ahead of the centre-backs and partnered Thapa in the first half and Apuia in the second. He had a rather quiet game by his standards but still made some crucial interventions in defense. He needs to show more with the ball.

Anirudh Thapa - 6

Thapa started the brightest of all midfielders, carrying the ball from defense and distributing it out wide. He went slightly anonymous towards the end of the first half and was taken off by Štimac at half-time. India missed his creativity as they searched for a late winner in the second half.

Sunil Chhetri - 9

Chhetri had an all-around performance in the match. He scored his 76th international goal with a great first-time finish. Chhetri later troubled Zico, the Bangladeshi goalkeeper, with a left-footed attempt from long range.

He also contributed defensively by winning some balls in midfield. The captain unselfishly set up Bheke, Udanta and Manvir for attempts on goal.

Udanta Singh - 7

This was one of the better Udanta performances that we have seen recently for the national team. He received a pass on the right flank from Kotal and calmly sent it in for Chhetri to open the scoring. Udanta played on both wings but was more comfortable on the latter, his preferred area. He was substituted after an hour.

Manvir Singh - 6

Manvir started the match playing centrally and wasn't involved a lot in the first half. He released Liston with his header which led to Bangladesh's red card. Only after the exits of Udanta and Liston did he switch out wide. However, he failed to provide much from there. He had two good attempts at goal in the second half - the first was saved and the second was blocked.

Liston Colaco - 8

Liston was India's most dangerous attacker in the first half. He made strong pacy runs and displayed good skills. However, he does need to work on his passing game. He won India the man advantage with his run and would have had a clear run at goal had he not been fouled by Ghosh. He was surprisingly substituted in the 59th minute.


Brandon Fernandes - 6

Brandon came on at half-time in place of Thapa and would have preferred to play a bit more centrally than he did. With no one on the left wing after Liston's withdrawal, Brandon operated as a left midfielder. He displayed some neat flicks and passes but couldn't make the impact that he would've wanted.

Apuia Lalengmawia - 6

Apuia was once again used as a substitute by Štimac and played the final half hour of the contest partnering Glan in midfield. Possibly needed more time to have a definite impact. He suffered a head injury from an aerial collision and had to receive some treatment. Apuia had a swipe from outside the box in the 90th minute which was saved by Zico.

Rahim Ali - 4

Rahim came on in the 63rd minute in place of Udanta but failed to produce anything with or without the ball. He had difficulties connecting with Chhetri and finding spaces. Ali went almost invisible during India's push for a winner in the last few minutes.

Farukh Choudhary - N/A

He came on in the 93rd minute.

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Edited by Diptanil
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