Welcome to Sportstar's highlights of this evening's Bahrain vs India friendly match being final played at the Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium in Arad, Bahrain.
This is Neeladri Bhattacharjee bringing you the pre-match buildup and minute-by-minute updates of this match.
Bahrain 2-1 India
In spite of Gupreet savind the penalty kick, one goal in each half by Bahrain was enough to edge over India, which could manage just one goal that came off Rahul Bheke's head. With the loss India's losing run against Bahrain extended to seven games ow.
90+1' India tries a last minute attack, but Jaffer is there to catch the ball and put that attack to bed. India's record remains 0-7 against Bahrain
88' GOOOOOAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!! Humaidan gets the ball right in fornt of the goalkeeper and this time, he does not miss. He scores as Bahrain goes in front
BHR 2-1 IND
86' Bahrain tries to exploint the left flank, but Thapa is resolute to let no one pass through him and Bahrain tries on the other end, witha long ball to the rigth, which is too long and the ball goes out for a goal kick
83' India is living dangerously against a consistently aggressive Bahrain. It is to be kept in mind that, India has never won against Bahrain
82' Foul! Pronay Halder is brough down in the midfield as Pritam takes the free kick, which is stolen by Bahrain on the follow-up, with a cross coming on from the left, which is fisted away by Gurpreet
80' Aniket Jadhav comes into the match after winning the Indian Super League with Hyderabad FC and will look to continue the same form in a friendly that hardly looks like one
79' Substitution for India! In: Aniket Jadhav , Out: Rahim Ali
78' Bahrain maitaining a red triangle to zonally mark Rahim Ali and Bahrain goes on attack, runs into the Indian penalty box and crosses for Abbas Ali, only to see the ball cleared away for a Bahrain corner
75' Scuffle in the midfield! The players get into a midfield fight as Rahum Ali pushes the Bahrain player away after a rash challenge and Bahrain get the free kick. No cards involved
75' This time Bahrain tries to atack along the right, gets a throw-in, but eventually the ball is cleared by Subhasish
73' Bahrain begins attacking on the counter, with runs along the left wing, but the crosses are headed out by Jhingan
71' Pronay Halder looks to be down with some injury as India's medical team assists him. Two goals in the match so far and the latest coming from Mumbai City FC centre back, Rahul Bheke
68' Abdul Jabbar had run into the Indian penalty box, but the final through ball did not reach him as Gurpreet made a key interception to deny any chance to Bahrain
65' Miss! Humaidan was making a run in the penalty box, but could noyt do justice to the cross that came in fomr the right as teh score remains locked at 1-1 with 25 minutes of regulation time to go
59' GOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!! Rahul Bheke gets the cross in the box off a Roshan Singh cross from the right and buries the ball into the net.
BHR 1-1 IND
58' Chance! Jaffer gets the ball off a back pass and Danish follows the ball and almost steals the ball off Jaffer as the Bahranian goalkeeper concedes a corner kick
57' Substitution for India! In: Anirudh Thapa, Out: Suhair VP
54' Roshan makes a run along the left flank, flies in a ball into the box likje he did for Bengaluru FC, but Bahrain clears the ball away, gets it back in action in India;s half and concedes a throw-in
53' Roshan steals the ball of Bahrain, and tries to play the ball in its final third ad the red shirts track back on time to clear the ball away
51' India almost had egg on its face as it was left ball watching as Bahrain progressed the ball into the final third, thier cross is finally blocked by the blue cluster of Indian defenders who pass the ball to Gurpreet, who clears the ball away
47' Chance! Roshan Singhm who has come on in the secon half gets the ball from a aerial cross from the rotgh, and shoots, which is off target
46' Bahrain begins the second half with a long ball which is overhit as Gurpreet gets to the ball and gets the ball back into play.
Second Half begins!
Bahrain 1-0 India
45' Free Kick! Bahrain gets a free kick close to the penalty box, but the header off the free kick flies over the goal -- off target
43' India finally making advances in the Bahrain half, Colaco tries to make a run along the left wing, but is marked well and as that attack freezes, Bahrain is off on attack at the other side, and finally the Blue Tingers track back to contain that attack
37' GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!! Al Hardan gets the ball from the left of the box, and shoots on his first touch to give Bahrain the lead
BHR 1-0 IND
35' Miss! A mistake by the Indian defence sees Al Aswad get the ball in the penalty box, but the player misses a crucial chance. Another miss for Bahran
34' Liston Colaco gets the ball from the right, receives it and cuts in right from the left flank, but fails to control the ball and gets dispossessed
32' Foul! Jassim Sheikh is brought down by Pronay and the free kick taken by Bahrain is delivered into the box by Al-Hardan, but the ball goes out of play for a goal kick for India
30' The corner kick, taken by Liston is cleared by Bahrain and then a long ball by Jhingan is too high as the ball goes out for a Bahrain goal kick
29' Pronay Halder floats a long ball along the left flank, which is received by Colaco, but his cross is headed away by Bahrain's defence for a corner kick.
27' Danish makes a run into the Bahrain box, gets a long ball, and this time, he misses the header as Jaffer gets the ball back into play for Bahrain
25' Suhair gets the ball off an Indian clearance, tries to make a run, but is dispossessed after a strong challenge by Al-Hardan
24' Igor Stimac shouts to pich up the second ball as Mahdi gets the ball close to the Indian penalty box, but his cross is comfortably gobbled up in Gurpreet's arms
22' Kotal's throw is led on by Anwar on the right, but Pronay's final pass is too much for Ali as the ball goes out for a throw-in in favour of Bahrain
19' Bahrain goes on the attack again, with Abbas crossing the ball into the box, wich is cleared away and the red shorts go on attack agai, but this time Abbas' cross is caught by Sandhu
18' Chance! Anwar Ali makes a run into the Bahrain box, crosses a lofted ball from the right as Danish heads it in, but it is off target and the ball goes out for a goal kick
16' Off the bar! Bahrain goes on the attack with Mahroon getting the ball in the box and he goes for goal, with his shot hiiting the woodwork. Mahdi gets the ball on the bounce and shoots, but tghis time the shot is off target
15' India is trying to play ftom the back with Gurpreet passing to Rahul and then Jaffer gets the ball back into play for Bahrain
13' India is back coralled in its half with Bahrain pressing high this time. The yellow card and the penalty has hit India at its attacking mentality, with eight players back defending now
7' Save! Gurpreet jumps to his left and saves a Bahrain penalty as scores remain level with Gurpreet back in his herois form in the National jersey
6' Yellow Card! Marhoon makes a run form the midfield, beats the defensive midfiled of India and Jhingan finally stops the ball with his elbow and the referee gives a yellow card . Penalty to Bahrain
5' As expected India is playing high press and the Bharain midifeld almost punished the Blues with a run in the midfield, as Bheke intercepts the ball, kicks it back Gurpreet, who kicks the ball away from danger
3' Off-side! Anwar Ali had made a run into the final third, but the linesman had his flag raised and play stops with a free kick to Bahrain
2' Bahrain gets the ball along the right wing, with a mistake by Bose and the ball is layed inti the bos, which is cleared by Jhingan. The corner that follows has India head the ball away from danger
1' India tries to build an attack along the right wing, but is thwarted by the Bahrain defence as the ball goes out for a thro in, which is played in by Bose
9:33 pm: Kick-off!
The match begins after the National Anthem of both the countries. India is in blue with Bahrain starting in its red kit.
9:00 pm: India hoping to break the duck.
India has never defeated Bahrain in its football history. In the six last fixtures between them, India's best result has been the 0-0 draw in 1982.
8:45 pm: Starting Line-ups are out!
Bahrain Starting XI: Sayed Mohammed Jaffer (GK), Mohammed Al-Hardan, Kamil Al Aswad. Mahdi Humaidan, Mohamed Marhoon, Mahdi Abdul-Jabbar, Walid Al-Hayyam, Amin bin Udai, Sayed Redha Issa, Abdullah Al-Hazza, Jassim Sheikh
India Starting XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahuk Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, Pronay Halder, Danish Farooq, Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco, VP Suhair, Rahim Ali
Ahead of India’s friendly against Bahrain at the Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium on Wednesday, head coach Igor Stimac has told his team to forget the horrors of the past and step into the pitch with optimism.
The Blue Tigers were knocked out after losing 1-0 to Bahrain in their last meeting in the group stage of the Asian Cup in 2019. The goal came in the dying minutes through a Jamal Rashid penalty. "Remembering the game against Bahrain – that’s not something I want to see here tomorrow,” Stimac told reporters on Tuesday.
“I want to see our team going out on the pitch, brave, with a positive attitude, concentrating on the attack. We are going to play middle press and high-press. We’re going to take certain risks in the intention to play more, attack more.”
After the Bahrain challenge, India will play Belarus on March 26.
The coach clarified that seven players have still not joined the camp. They are stuck in Mumbai for their visa approvals. “Amrinder Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Aniket Jadhav, Akash Mishra, Bipin Singh, Chinglesana Singh, Brandon Fernandes are stuck in Mumbai, awaiting approval of visas for which we applied two months ago,” he said.
Stimac introduced seven new faces, including three players from the Indian Super League finals — Prabhsukhan Gill and Hormipam Ruivah from Kerala Blasters FC and Aniket Jadhav from Hyderabad FC — for the friendlies and added that these matches will give them more opportunities after a successful ISL season.
“This ISL season has been extremely exciting and we’ve seen some new faces. We’re going to give chance to those boys and see how they can do at the international level against stronger opposition and if we can count on them for the upcoming qualifier,” he said.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be the preferred custodian despite Gill winning Golden Glove with the most number of clean sheets in the ISL. “As you know the goalkeeping position is very important for us and for such important matches, we stick with the goalkeeper, No.1, which is Gurpreet.”
“Nevermind he didn’t have a very successful season with the club or on a personal level, but he has been training for the last 11-12 days with the goalkeeping coach and the team. Gurpreet is, by my and our staff, the best goalkeeper we have in the country, and I’m not a favourite of changing that position often or without any need.”
India will miss Sunil Chhetri for the friendlies, who has been ruled out with an injury, and Stimac insisted that the team will have to take responsibility in his absence.
“Of course, we've Manvir here, Rahim Ali, Suhair, Liston and other boys, but most of all, the whole team needs to replace Sunil and his goals. We want players to show up and take responsibility and forget about Sunil at the moment. He will join us for the upcoming camp,” he added.
The next camp starts April 24 and after the players’ COVID-19 tests, the final list of 28 players will be finalised. “After two initial weeks (thereafter), we’re going to go somewhere to play a few friendly games which are in negotiations and my plan is to play the last friendly game in the last week of May, just prior to the qualifiers, with the venues probably being Kolkata or Doha, Qatar,” he said.
The friendlies, now and the ones planned, are expected to prepare India for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, which are set to begin on June 8 in Kolkata. India has been grouped in Group D, alongside Hong Kong, Cambodia and Afghanistan.
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