Adil Khan - what a story. The defender, making a comeback to the national team after eight long years, scores his maiden goal for the country to seal a thrilling 1-1 draw with Bangladesh. Aashin with the match report from Kolkata.
The visiting side appeared to be running away with the game as it rode on Saad Uddin's first half header and continued to dominate proceedings for large parts of the second half. The Indians looked a tad off-colour on the night and went on to throw the proverbial kitchen sink in the dying stages. And it took a fine header from Adil in the 89th minute to salvage a draw against their lower ranked opponents.
The result sees India occupy the fourth position in Group E with two points from three matches, while Bangladesh is at the bottom with one point from as many games. Qatar tops the table, followed by Oman and Afghanistan.
90+5' The referee Masoud Tufaylieh blows the whistle and it ends even stevens at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Adil's header in the dying stages of saves India from the jaws of defeat and ensures Igor Stimac's side a point from the clash.
90+4' Manvir! Chhetri chests the ball down and lays it for Manvir, but the youngster's strike is well off target.
90+3' The pressure is mounting on the Indians, while Bangladesh looks content to hold on to the ball and walk away with a point.
90' We will have five minutes of added time. You reckon 300 seconds enough for India to complete a comeback and claim a first win at home under Igor Stimac?
89' And it gets better! Adil made a comeback to the Indian football team this year after a eight-year hiatus and he has just scored his first goal in national colours! What a moment and what a day for him to shine!
89' GOAL TO INDIA! ADIL KHAN WITH THE EQUALISER! A minute after Chhetri misses a fairly easy chance Adil sends the crowd into a tizzy with a fantastic header. Brandon whips in a peach of a corner and Adil gets past his man to bury his header into the net and the Indians are back in this game!
Can the Indian football team complete a late comeback? Have your say here:
83' It looked like the Bangladesh 'keeper Ashraful Rana will be booked for time wasting, but it's the assistant coach who goes into the refs book instead!
80' It's a lot better from the Indians here. They seem to have moved away from the long ball tactic and are now making those key passes in the attacking third. A couple of crosses are whipped into the box but stopper back Yeasin Khan has stood strong. One of the clearances find Brandon a little over 30 yards out and he lets one rip, but can't keep his half-volley on target.
STAT ATTACK: Sunil Chhetri has scored all the goals in the last two matches between India and Bangldesh. Can he keep his record going with another strike tonight?
75' Third and final change for India: Lallianzuala Chhangte replaces Anas Edathodika. Meanwhile, Chhetri nearly finds the equaliser off a corner, but his header whizzes just wide of the far post.
73' Adil Khan makes a goal-line clearance ! Ziban is found unmarked in the attacking third and he loops it past Gurpreet and beats him. The Indian 'keeper manages to get a little touch and Adil bombs down the pitch to make a fine goal-line save. India were an inch, literal inch, away from conceding a second goal!
70' Half a chance for Chhetri. He gets to the ball before the defence and the 'keeper is off his line, but Chhetri has no room to shoot. He twists and turns and delivers a diagonal cross into the box, but can't find a teammate. He's distraught, but there's just now much he could have done there.
68' Second change for India: Anirudh Thapa is replaced by Raynier Fernandes.
66' Sublime move from the Indians. Udanta passes it to Chhetri and bombs down the right wing. Chhetri sees his Bengaluru FC teammate scorching down the flank and finds him with a fine long ball. Udanta cuts back and crosses into the box, but Manvir seems to have just run past the ball.
64' Sahal draws a foul and the Bangladesh captain, Jamal Bhuyan, picks up a yellow card. That's the second booking of the game.
60' Bangladesh continues to be calling the shots at the hour mark. The attack has troubled Gurpreet aplenty and kept the Indian backline alert, while the defence has kept the Indians at bay.
60' SAVED ON THE GOAL-LINE! Biplo does ever so well to make a goal-line clearance and keep Bangladesh's lead intact. Anas rises well above his marker and gets off a strong header, but Biplo is up to the task and makes a fine defensive header.
56' First change of the game: Brandin Fernandes comes on for Mandar Rao Dessai.
54' CROSSBAR! And it's Bangladesh again! The right winger Ibrahim tries to cross the ball into the box but his shot ends up beating Gurpreet and clatters against the right-top corner of the crossbar. You can call that a fluke, but Gurpreet had no chance there.
51' WHAT A CHANCE! It's another lovely counter attack and that could have very easily been 2-0 to Bangladesh. Mohammed Ziban makes a terrific run and is played into the box, with the Indian defenders scampering behind him, and he has just the 'keeper to beat. He goes low and places it to Gurpreet's right, but the Indian custodian makes no mistake this time.
49' Much much better from India. Sahal twists and turns past three defenders and tries to find Manvir, but his pass is cut short by the defence. Sahal is finally showing signs of his brilliance.
46' Neither coach makes any changes and we're back for another 45 minutes of exciting football. Or should I say, we're back for the deciding 45 minutes of this tie.
46' KICK OFF!
We're being shown replays of the Bangladesh goal and man, that was pretty agonising eh? I think the last time Gurpreet made such an error was when he conceded against Jordan from a goal-kick! Let me quickly jog your memory - Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi scores against India
STAT ATTACK: The last time India beat Bangladesh was way back in 1999 when the Blue Tigers claimed a 1-0 win in the SAFF Games. And the last time India lost to Bangladesh was in 2009 , also in the SAFF Games. The last two matches between the two teams, in 2013 and 2014, ended in 1-1 and 2-2 draws respectively.
Igor Stimac's Indian football team had a couple of stray chances but failed to really trouble the opposition goalkeeper, while Bangladesh latched on to a poor missed attempt from Gurpreet to storm into the lead. At the halfway mark, Saad Uddin's 42nd minute header puts Bangladesh 1-0 ahead.
45+2' And that brings us to the end of the opening half. The Bangladeshi players will go into the break with their heads held high as they enjoy a one-goal lead.
45' The fourth official has signalled for two minutes of added time.
43' A case of terrible miscommunication sees India concede the opening goal. Bheke gives away a freekick on the left and the Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuyan steps up to take it. He sends in a curling ball towards the far post and Gurpeet Singh Sandhu races off his line to clear it, but he can't get a glove on it and Saad is there to finish things off in style with a diving header.
42' GOAL TO BANGLADESH! Saad Uddin's header finds the back of the net as Bangladesh storms into the lead.
39' It's the same old long ball approach. Anas floats in a pinpoint lob to Chhetri from the middle of the park and Chhetri connects well, but his header sails kindly into the 'keeper's gloves.
36' I was just about to say that the ref is being very stingy with his cards and Anas picks up a yellow for a rather unnecessary tackle.
34' Penalty to India? Chhetri is clearly pulled down to the ground by the Bangladesh defence, but the referee refuses to take action. This is the second time Chhetri has been taken out in less than 10 minutes.
34' What a chance! Manvir fires a fine backwards header and catches the 'keeper by surprise as he just about manages to get a glove to it.
JUST IN: India has beat Bangladesh! Yep, you read that right, but it's in the SAFF U-15 Women's Championships. The Indian team, coached by Alex Ambrose, has won the title on penalties.
31' Costly miss! Adil makes a mess of a back pass and Biplu Ahmed latches on to it. He bombs towards the goal and gets a shot off, but it takes a last-gasp deflection and Bangladesh now has a corner. Gurpreet is understandably livid with Adil and the latter makes amends by clearing the resultant corner.
29' Another free kick for India. Thapa is felled on the right wing by Biplo. He takes the resultant freekick, but it's cleared for a corner.
27' Some intricate passing between Sahal and Udanta sees the latter race down the left flank with ample of space to deliver a cross. But the Bengaluru FC winger can't make the most of the chance as his cross loops into the top of the net.
25' It's a cheeky routine that sees Thapa play it Sahal who squeezes it into the box towards an onrushing Chhetri. However, the Indian skipper is held back by the defence and the chance goes begging.
24' Free kick to India and it's in a dangerous zone. Manvir wins the dead ball and this looks to be Chhetri territory. Oh wait, Thapa lines up to take the kick...
22' Bheke is in the thick of things, eh? He sends a swirling lob down the right, but it's a little too much for Manvir. The Indians have struggled to hold on to possession thus far.
Story: Speaking of that goal, did you guys know that Rahul Bheke sat with his friends cheering for Kerala Blasters in the first season of the ISL? Fast forward four years and in 2019, his last-gasp header guided Bengaluru FC to its maiden ISL title. Here's his story - Bheke: A spectator in season one, a champion now
18' Bheekeeeeeeeeeee, that was close! Thapa weaves in a fine curling corner and Bheke got a solid header off, but it zooms above the crossbar. Had Bheke scored, it would have almost been a replay of the winner he scored, in the dying stages of added time, to lead Bengaluru FC to the ISL title this season.
13' Have the Blue Tigers adopted a new strategy this evening? It's raining lobs here, a drastic change from how India played against Oman and Qatar. The earlier two games saw the Indians keep the ball on the ground and stitch passes aplenty, but I have to say that things look slightly different today.
10' Chhetri plays the corner short and a lob is looped into the box. Bheke leaps high to try and play it towards Udanta in the centre of the box, but the Bangladesh defence manages to clear the danger.
8' It's Bheke vs Ibrahim again and the Indian gets way with it once again! He out-muscles the Bangladeshi midfielder in the box and steers the ball to safety, but he did catch him in the shin again. Like the commentator said, looks like Bheke has a little friendship going on with the referee!
6' Stimac's men have resorted to the classic long ball tactic in the opening minutes. It's kept the Bangladesh defence on its toes, but the strikers haven't had any clear chances.
4' First shot on target for India. Manvir floats in a fine long ball and Ashique pads it to Chhetri in the box. The Indian skipper fires a first-time volley and finds the target, but fails to trouble the rival goalkeeper.
1' Penalty? That's a clear penalty! Mohammad Ibrahim races into the box past Rahul Bheke and the Indian knocks him down! He catches him on the shin and appears to be an obvious penalty, but the ref thinks otherwise. Nervous start, this.
1' KICK OFF!
7:29pm: We're seconds away from kick-off! Can the Indian football team claim its first win at home under Croatian coach Igor Stimac?
7:25 pm: What a visual treat it is to see the Salt Lake Stadium's stands brimming with fans. The capacity 65,000 fans are making themselves heard as the two teams enter the pitch.
7:23 pm: Some context before we head into the tie - Bangladesh comes into this game on the back of a 2-0 loss to Qatar. Yes India had claimed a draw against the AFC Asian Cup champion, but the stats don't favour Stimac's men.
While Qatar had 11 shots on target against India, it had all of two against Bangladesh, and scored off both. And while Bangladesh had five shots on target against Qatar, India managed just two shots in total.
7:20 pm: Final touches, aye? 10 minutes to kick-off, ladies and gents!
7:18 pm: Anyone seen the legendary PK Banerjee in the house? The last we heard, he was yet to receive a invite for the game! P.K. Banerjee not yet invited for India vs Bangladesh clash
7:15 pm: We are 15 minutes away from kick-off! Here's some final words of motivation from the man himself, Sandesh Jhingan.
7:05pm: The Salt Lake Stadium is all decked up for it's first national team match in nine years! What are your predictions for this evening's tie?
6:55pm: The Indian football team returns to Kolkata after a nine-year gap and for the first time in a long time, there are no represents from East Bengal or Mohun Bagan.
Aashin Prasad has more here - East Bengal, Mohun Bagan missing in action as Indian football team returns to Kolkata
6:45 pm: So Anas and Adil will play as the stoppers, while Bheke will play on the right and Mandar on the left. Thapa and Sahal will play as the holding midfielders, while Udanta will play down thee right and Ashique on the left. Chhetri and Manvir will spearhead the goalscoring duties as India lines up in a 4-4-2 formation.
6:42 pm: An interesting line up, this. Anas Edathodika makes a comeback to the Indian football team for the first time since announcing his retirement at in January at the AFC Asian Cup. The veteran will have to fill in for the injured Sandesh Jhingan and will play in the centre along Adil Khan.
6:40 pm: Line ups, line ups!
India starting XI - Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Adil Khan, Rahul Bheke, Anas Edathodika, Mandar Rao Dessai, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh, Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri.
Subs: Balwant Singh, Pritam Kotal, Amrinder Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vinit Rai, Nikhil Poojari, Raynier Fernandes, Kamaljit Singh, Narender Gahlot.
6:30 pm: With centre-back Sandesh Jhingan out due to an injury, who can fill this void in the defence? Vote below!
6:15 pm: So we all know that Chhetri is back in the squad and just how crucial his presence is on the pitch. The 34-year-old has for long shouldered the goal-scoring responsibilities and it's genuinely tough to think of an Indian attacking unit without him.
But Chhetri insists that he is just one piece of a larger picture in Igor Stimac’s team. "If three people mark, even four, we will be happy. We can even have tea together," Chhetri said on the prospect of being marked tightly by Bangladesh. "It will be a 10 vs six advantage. You need to understand that it's not about me. Tomorrow, you will come to know about someone like Udanta (Singh), Ashique (Kuruniyan), (Abdul Samad) Sahal or Manvir (Singh)," he says.
Full story here - It will always be about Chhetri
The Indian football team goes into the tie on the back of a remarkable draw against Qatar, easily its best result of the century. However, things have changed since. While skipper Sunil Chhetri has recovered and is back with the squad, defensive mainstay Sandesh Jhingan has been ruled out, for close to six months, after suffering an ACL injury.
What does the Indian team look like? What does India coach Igor Stimac think of this Bangladesh unit? Our reporter Aashin Prasad , who is at the venue, has all the answers:
- After Qatar draw, onus on India to outclass Bangladesh -
On a day when the men in suits laid out the roadmap for the future of Indian football in Kuala Lumpur, over in Kolkata, the men in tracksuits are busy going through their paces to ensure the put forward plan is on the right track.
The Indian Super League (ISL) was conceived in 2014 as the forceful solution to take the nation to greater heights. Three years ago, India's 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign ended with a second-round exit where it mustered a solitary win against a lowly Guam. On Tuesday, a 23-man squad boasting an all ISL group has been entrusted with providing a fillip to the 2022 qualifying campaign against Bangladesh in a Group E clash at the Salt Lake Stadium.
The spirited display in the goalless draw in Qatar on the back of the cruel defeat to Oman proved to be a watershed moment for this young group. Returning to the ‘Mecca of Indian football’ after a gap of nine years, Igor Stimac’s men have the chance to make another statement by registering the first win of the campaign.
“There will be a lot of passion. We know that we have somehow woken up everyone with our recent performances. We have shown that on our day we can play against anyone. In the first two games, we were not favourites. But now the whole pressure is on us. We have to win this game so that we have a chance to keep dreaming,” said Stimac on the pre-match eve.
Not taking Bangladesh lightly
Despite carrying the favourite billing, Stimac is in no mood to take the opposition lightly. Bangladesh is placed bottom on the points table behind India after coming off a 2-0 defeat to Qatar at home last week.
The Croatian said, “I wouldn't like any of you to underestimate Bangladesh. Whenever we underrate someone the result is not good. Bangladesh did a very good job against Qatar. They created more chances.”
Bangladesh coach Jamie Day wants his men to make the chances count on Tuesday and silence a sold-out crowd. “We have to catch on. Qatar had two shots on target and they scored both. We got five we but we couldn't score. If we take our chances we can win against India."
Ranked 83 rungs below India, Bangladesh has been a side on the rise under Englishman Day. Since his appointment as the senior team coach in May last year, the Red and Green have won seven of their 13 matches. Fourteen of its 23-man travelling party is aged 23 or below with the former Arsenal trainee building his team around the 2018 Asian Games youngsters.
In the lead up to the match, the Blue Tigers, however, has to fill a Sandesh Jhingan-sized hole after he suffered a long term injury last week when India played its first practice match in 28 days against NorthEast United FC .
They will receive a boost in the form of the returning striker Sunil Chhetri, who missed the match against Qatar due to illness. The skipper retained his goal-scoring touch with a strike in the 1-1 draw at the home of the Highlanders. His Bengaluru FC teammate and defender Rahul Bheke is available for selection after being by cleared by the medical staff from a groin strain.
With Rowllin Borges suspended, Stimac may look at Vinit Rai as an option for defensive cover in the center of the midfield to allow his midfielders to enjoy creative freedom in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Stimac has urged a more attacking approach and his side will likely dominate possession, whereas Bangladesh will be expected to hold its shape and pounce on the break. The pace of Ashique Kuruniyan and Udanta Singh will be key for India to set the proceedings in the first half.
Much like the opposition, India, too, has skilfull under-23 players at the core of its team. Failure to seize opportunities has hurt the side in the recent past. On Tuesday, it has another opportunity to set the ball rolling.bv