Kolkata. With the return of charismatic striker into the squad, all eyes are on captain Sunil Chhetri when India are back in action for their third fixture of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, against Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Tuesday. India held Asian champion Qatar 0-0 in the previous away play will definitely inspire the Blue Tigers to go on prowl against the visitors in the third Group E fixture of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup qualifiers here where a record turn out of home fans is expected. A latest report said tickets are almost sold out by now and India is expected to be boosted for for all round attack against Bangladesh.
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Head coach Igor Stimac, who earlier had appeal to the Kolkata fans to turn up and cheer up for India, said "We'll need to work on set-pieces, combinations and choose the best eleven for the game. The entire squad is extremely excited. Thank you Kolkata for your response." Stimac had coached Croatia to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. The Blue Tigers arrived in the city on Sunday after a 10-day preparatory tour in Guwahati.
The goalless draw India had against Qatar has pumped up the fans. Lack of fitness in the final minutes has done India a lot of harm in the first game against Oman. Three points were taken away by the two goals in eight minutes against Oman. Against Qatar, the issue was vastly resolved by effective runs in the second half.
India are expected to find more scorers on the attacking end with the return of captain Sunil Chhetri, who did not play against Qatar for injury. Although Sunil Chhetri is back in contention and Rahul Bheke recovered from his injury, the Blue Tigers will be without the services of Sandesh Jhingan who is injured. Midfiielder Rowlin Borges is suspended for the tie after having picked up two yellow cards.
Anas Edathodika is likely to pair up with Adil Khan in defence and Mandar Rao Dessai at left-back while Sahal Abdul Samad is expected to aid the attack around the Bengaluru FC trident of Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan and Chhetri. Anas coming out of retirement has acted as a blessing in disguise, with Jhingan ruled out for the season. India are currently 4th in Group E of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. A win is crucial for the Blue Tigers, having one point from two games.
Bangladesh suffered a 2-0 defeat against Qatar last week. The Red and Green came close to scoring and was on the attack even before the Qataris settled in. The performance against Qatar is a warning not to underrate the visitors here. Bangladesh head coach Jamie Day has admitted that India are the favorites to win the contest. Bangladesh are currently placed 187th on FIFA rankings. a solitary point against hosts Qatar, India will be looking to register their first win of the campaign when they face against Bangladesh on Tuesday.
Led by English coach Jamie Day, The Red and Green fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Afghanistan in the opener of the second round qualifiers and are the only team without a point in the group. In between the two qualification ties. Jamie Day may stick to his preferred 4-4-2 formation with skipper Jamal Bhuyan at the pivotal central midfield role. Bhuiyan will have a lot on his shoulders, screening the two centrebacks Yeasin Khan and Riyadul Hasan. Nabib Ziban could be deployed as the lone striker.
Barring a win over Afghanistan in 2008, Bangladesh have not beaten any of the teams from their group but will be looking to catch India by surprise.
India vs Bangladesh: Head-to-Head India: 15, Bangladesh: 11, Draw: 2
India vs Bangladesh: probable lineups
India (4-2-3-1): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Rahul Bheke, Anas Edathodika, Adil Khan, Subhasish Bose, Anirudh Thapa, Vinit Rai, Udanta Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri Bangladesh (4-4-2): Ashraful Rana, Raihan Hasan, Rahmat Mia, Yeasin Khan, Rahmat Mia, Biplu Ahmed, Mohammad Ibrahim, Jamal Bhuyan, Sohel Rana, Saad Uddin, Nabib Newaz Ziban