FIFA WC qualifiers: Bangladesh wary of Sunil Chhetri threat

Chhetri had to sit out of India’s gritty goalless draw against Asian champion Qatar in Doha but he is set to return in the Group E match against Bangladesh.

Sunil Chhetri scored in the opening qualifying game against Oman.   -  AIFF Media

No stranger to Indian football, Bangladesh assistant coach Stuart Watkiss on Saturday said it’s talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri who will keep his players on their toes in their World Cup qualifier against India here on Tuesday.

Laid low by a virus, Chhetri had to sit out of India’s gritty goalless draw against Asian champion Qatar in Doha but he is set to return in the Group E match against Bangladesh here.

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“Obviously, Sunil is the most dangerous player because of the amount of goals he has scored,” Watkiss said.

“He’s a super player with a super goal-scoring record,” the 53-year-old said on Chhetri, who had scored his goal number 72 in India’s 1-2 loss to Oman last month in Guwahati.

Watkiss was in charge of former I-League club Bharat FC in the 2015-16 season and watched Chhetri from close quarters.

“He hasn’t had many weaknesses... Of late, he seems to have gone from strength to strength from my time in India. It will be a challenge for our team (to stop him),” said Watkiss.

“You know, we respect him. We respect all the Indian players, we respect the Indian culture and stuff. But that’s it, we won’t give them too much respect.”

Bangladesh has come here on the back of a 0-2 loss to Qatar in Dhaka in its last match. It had lost 0-1 to Afghanistan in its campaign opener.

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“We deserved something out of the game (versus Qatar). We created more chances than Qatar and possibly had the best opportunities,” the former Hull city development coach said.

Bangladesh will rely on Mamunul Islam and captain Jamal Bhuyan in the midfield with the team having eight Under-23 players.

“Our defensive shape is good. We are good on the counter. There are young players who can spring a surprise. We have been let down by our finishing a bit. We need to work on that,” 30-year-old Mamunul said.

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