After a dismal performance against Syria in the first match, the U23 team faces an uphill task against the mighty hosts, Qatar. Stephen Constantine led boys will have to go for nothing less than 3 points if they are to keep any hopes alive to make it to China 2018. To make this happen, the boys will have to play possession based football with an extra man in defense against the much better-built Qataris. The long ball play as in the first game will not help.
Constantine will have to think about his team selection. Daniel Lalhimpuia was highly ineffective due to the long ball play and 3 out of the 4 defenders were booked.Another booking would mean sitting out of the Turkmenistan game.India will have to keep their calm and not panic, which was the reason that led to the opening goal in the previous match.
Qatar is coming into the game with a comfortable 2-0 win against Turkmenistan and will have the support of their home fans. Qatar is known to play quick football, some of their players have experience playing in U20 World Cup and high tempo matches in Qatar Star League. It will be interesting to see how India able to play such strong Qatari side.
India will have to be wary of highly rated Akram Afif, who is considered to be the Beckham of Qatar currently plying his trade for Sporting de Gijon and their defense to be led by Fahad Al Abdulrahman who plays in the Belgian top division.
All is not yet lost for India, and with two games still to go, a spirited performance will be needed to at least finish runners up in the group and 5 best-placed runners up will also go through. But surely, it won’t come easy.
The match kicks off at 10.30 PM IST
There will be no telecast, but live streaming will be available
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