red six and let one in.
With this lineup, they can field two quality teams, Indian head coach Igor Stimac said over phone from Hangzhou on Wednesday. In a game where India are likely to have less ball possession, team captain Sunil Chhetri, in an All India Football Federation press release, emphasized the need to avoid going one-on-one.
According to Stimac, India is forced to improvise as it has no specialized defenders – it is like a bird that has had its wings clipped. Against China, Shtimak opted for a back four with Sumit Rathi and Abdul Rabih and after the arrival of Chinglensana Singh switched to a back three after the 1-0 win over Bangladesh and the 1-1 draw with Myanmar.
India may play Sandesh Jhingan, Narender Gahloth, Chinglensana Singh and Lalchungnunga as defenders in this match.
Saudi Arabia’s two goals against Vietnam were scored by defenders: center back Mohammedoand left winger Zakrei Alkhausawi. Alkhawsawi, who plays for the Al-Ittihad team, is likely to bulk up, as he did during the 3-1 wins over Vietnam and 3-0 victories over Mongolia. He is quick, can shift wide and make passes or penetrate inside. It could mean a busy night for Rahul KP, who could start in the right midfield position.
If Bryce Miranda fails to recover from fatigue after starting all three matches, India may opt for Rahim Ali on the left flank, according to a team spokesman. And Rabih could partner Amarjeet Singh Kiyam in the center of midfield. Rabih has proven himself in the right-back, right-back and midfield positions. He can be a ball passer for Sunil Chhetri, who can play behind the strong Gurkirat Singh as a lone forward.
Saudi Arabia have shown that they can create combinations through the center. So we need to be compact, saidl Stimac. As an example, Haitam Asiri’s goal against Mongolia was scored off a pass from Mohammed Maran. Maran, who plays for the Al Nassr team, also scored a goal through the midfield. against Vietnam. Awad Alnashri and Mohammed Abulshamat are likely to operate in the center of the field.
Saudi Arabia has two Asian Games soccer medals: a bronze medal in 1982 when it beat India 1-0 in the quarterfinals, which was also the last time the teams met in the competition, and a silver medal four years later. India have two golds and a bronze, but their last medal was won in 1970.