SAFF Championship: Kuwait check awaits India in top-of-the-table conflict

Taskmaster: Coach Stimac, right, watches his wards prepare for the big game against Kuwait.

Taskmaster: Coach Stimac, proper, watches his wards put together for the large recreation in opposition to Kuwait.
| Picture Credit score: Ok. MURALI KUMAR

India will face its hardest check but on the SAFF Championship when it takes on Kuwait within the ultimate Group-A contest on the Sree Kanteerava Stadium right here on Tuesday.

Each groups are already into the semifinals after having gained their opening two fixtures. However at stake is the place of the table-topper, for which India wants a win and nothing much less. A draw shall be sufficient for the guests, for the perimeters are tied on goal-difference however Kuwait is forward on targets scored (7 to six).

Kuwait could also be ranked 143 on this planet – 42 locations beneath India – however that quantity is misleading at greatest. The Rui Bento-coached outfit has been spectacular this match and has appeared each bit the facet that notched up wins over Tajikistan, Philippines and the United Arab Emirates this 12 months, all higher-ranked opponents.

A very good measure of the place India and Kuwait stand might be gauged by how they fared of their respective final matches. India made eight adjustments in opposition to Nepal and struggled, particularly within the first half, earlier than profitable 2-0. Kuwait shuffled round 9 of its gamers versus Pakistan and nonetheless romped dwelling 4-0.

However India can draw power from the truth that it has not conceded for eight straight video games. Additionally it is set to welcome head coach Igor Stimac again to the touchline after his one-match suspension for the red-card offence in opposition to Pakistan.

“We made lots of adjustments within the final recreation to ensure we’ve obtained all people match, prepared and motivated,” Stimac advised AIFF, forward of the Kuwait match. “Towards Nepal, we didn’t execute the primary half properly as we didn’t follow the plan.

“We weren’t marking tightly and profitable aerial duels. We modified a number of issues, and the second half labored to perfection. Some phenomenal strikes and passing,” the Croat added.

India and Kuwait haven’t met in latest occasions, so there isn’t any expertise to attract upon. The earlier tie was in reality a pleasant means again in 2010 in Abu Dhabi which the West Asians gained by a large 9-1 margin.

The India of right this moment wish to imagine it’s a lot better than that end result. Tuesday is an opportunity to show that to a new-age Indian viewers.

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