The second edition of the Hero Intercontinental Cup will kick-off at Ahmedabad on Sunday with the Indian football team taking on Tajikistan in a much awaited encounter.
The tournament will feature two other teams in the form of DPR Korea and Syria and will be played in a round-robin format. The final of the tournament is scheduled on 18th July and will consist of the top two teams from the points table.
This tournament will be Igor Stimac’s second exposure to a tournament as the Indian national football team’s coach as he led India to a third placed finish in the Kings Cup held in Thailand recently.
Here’s everything you need to know regarding this clash between India and Tajikistan.
|When is the kick-off?||July 7|
|What time is the kick-off?||7:50pm|
|Where is the game being played?||TransStadia Arena, Ahmedabad.|
|Where to watch on TV/Live Stream?||Star Sports Network and Hotstar|
The AIFF announced a 25-man Indian team for the tournament very late, with Michael Soosairaj, Anwar Ali and Raynier Fernandes not making the cut. However, Narender Gahlot and Jobby Justin are two new faces in the team. Anas Edathodika’s too returns to the team after making a U-Turn on his retirement.
Tajikistan have traveled to India with a plethora of young talent. Their squad does not have the experience which could prove to be a hurdle against teams like India, DPR Korea, and Syria. Moreover, Jahongir Ergashev, their 25-year old star striker has been ruled out of the tournament.
India (4-2-3-1): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subhasish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Adil Khan, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sahal Abdul Samad, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri.
Tajikistan (4-4-2): Rustam Yatimov, Tabrezi Davlatmir, Siyevush Asrorov, Akhtam Nazarov, Iskandar Jalilov, Muhammadjon Rakhimov, Ehson Panjshanbe, Parvizdzhon Abdulloyevich, Amirbek Juraboev, Komron Tursunov, Shakhrom Samiyev.
Both teams have played each other on four previous occasions with Tajikistan winning two games, India claiming one victory and one match ending in a draw.
India come into this game with quite a mixed record in their last five competitive fixtures, winning two and losing three in the process.
However, the Blue Tigers will gain confidence from the fact that Tajikistan have lost every single game in their last five encounters.
In any game in which he features for India, Sunil Chhetri definitely has a huge say in how the Blue Tigers end up performing for 90 minutes of the match.
However, against Tajikistan, Chhetri might just take a backseat as Sahal Abdul Samad and Udanta Singh work their magic from midfield and could prove to be the stars of this match.
Indian defenders will have to be wary of Tajikistani midfielder Parvizdzhon Abdulloyevich who is the heartbeat of his team. The Blue Tigers have to stop him pulling the strings from midfield as he can be pretty lethal if he finds space ahead of him.
Despite proving to be tough opponents for India in the past, Tajikistan’s recent form has been disappointing. This, coupled with a new coach and a young side that they have brought into this tournament gives them less chances of a win.
If Igor Stimac gets his formation and strategy right, India should come up with a 3-1 win from this clash.