India gears up for Jordan challenge in Asian Cup tune-up

India will face Jordan on Saturday in what will be its last international friendly ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

The match against Jordan is an opportunity for Stephen Constantine's side to experiment tactics going into the AFC Asian Cup next year.   -  Special Arrangement

India will look for a valuable away win when it takes on host Jordan in an international friendly here on Saturday. The match at the Jordan capital is in preparation for the AFC Asian Cup, which will be held in UAE in January-February next year.

India is ranked 97th while Jordan is placed 112th in the FIFA rankings.

Stephen Constantine’s men will be without the services of seasoned campaigner Sunil Chhetri, who has been sidelined due to an ankle injury he suffered while playing for Bengaluru FC in the ongoing Indian Super League.

RELATED| Sunil Chhetri to miss Jordan friendly due to ankle injury

The Indians will take confidence from their goalless draw in their previous friendly against higher-ranked China, managed by World Cup-wining coach Marcello Lippi.

India’s defence impressed against Lippi’s China but Constantine will be banking on his midfield and attack to have an influence in the match against a Jordan side whose form has been patchy.

Midfielder Jackichand Singh and left back Nishu Kumar were on Thursday included in the 22-member squad for the clash. The likes of Udanta Singh, Pronay Halder, Halicharan Narzary and Anirudh Thapa will look to control possession in the midfield, while in Chhetri's absence, experienced men like Jeje Lalpekhlua and Balwant Singh will need to take up the mantle up front. While the former has struggled in front of goal, the latter’s form is encouraging.

RELATED| Chhetri’s absence from Jordan game big blow, says Constantine

With only about two months to go for the Asian Cup, the upcoming friendly provides Constantine the last opportunity to analyse his squad and prepare his backup plans.

Jordan's last win came in May when it defeated Cyprus 3-0. In its last four games, it has endured two draws and as many defeats, capping it with a 1-2 loss to Croatia in October.

Ahead of the match, Constantine said: “We want to do well in the AFC Asian Cup and the clash against Jordan will aid us. Jordan are a good side and they have a number of good players in their ranks.”

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