India beat Myanmar 1-0 to score three points. Myanmar drew 1-1 with the Kyrgyz Republic for one point. Thus, ranking 94th in the standings, the Kyrgyz Republic must win.
The last time India, ranked 106th in the FIFA rankings, beat a higher-ranked team was in March 2021 against Oman, when Singh’s strike cancelled out Chinglensan Singh’s own goal.
Since they have no choice but to go out and win, Stimac said, the hosts may not press as hard as they did against Myanmar. We will do our best to win. We have a full house of fans and a chance to prove ourselves, the Croatian said Monday in Imphal.
Against a team ranked 12 places higher, India will likely opt for the middle block and look to hit the breakaway using the speed of wide players. They will likely replace the six players who started the game against Myanmar.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will return in goal, and the center pair of defenders Chinglensana Singh and Mehtab Singh could make room for Sandesh Jingan and left-hander Anwar Ali. Although Stimack played most of the season at center-back, he can reward Pritam Kotal for his consistency in the Indian Super League by releasing ATK captain Mohun Bagan to the right-back position he held until 2022. Or Naorem Roshan Singh, who played there all last year, could start. Akash Mishra is likely to play the left guard position.
Jixon Singh and Suresh Wanjam should resume their partnership in the defensive midfield with Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes and either Bipin Singh or Mahesh Singh in the attacking midfield.
Recalled to the team after an injury to striker Bengaluru Sivasakti Narayanan, Mahesh received praise from Stimac for his play against Myanmar. Mahesh was a big surprise… When players come from ISL to the national team, it’s a different type of pressure… Everything he did was by the book, the Croatian told the All India Football Federation’s website.
Sunil Chhetri will take the field as the lone striker, looking to add to his list of 84 international goals (in 132 matches), third highest among active players and second only to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Having played a good game against Myanmar, besides scoring the onlygoal, Anirudh Thapa can go to the bench for Fernandes to get playing time.