India will march onto the field at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday evening as outright favorites when they face-off with Bangladesh. Bodog has also shown their faith in the Blue Tigers after a memorable goalless draw away in Qatar despite missing the services of Sandesh Jhingan.
Even though India have shown a meteoric rise in the FIFA rankings in the past few years, they have failed to win often in 2019. The historic win over Thailand during the AFC Asian Cup earlier in January was the last time that the Blue Tigers have won a game. Despite a few positives, India lost 2-4, 2-5 to Tajikistan and North Korea respectively before sharing spoils with Syria in 2019 Intercontinental Cup.
Holding nerves till the end of the match has been a major problem for India, which was evident in the opening World Cup Cup qualifier against Oman, where they lost the game after leading by a goal till the 82nd minute of the match at home. But the heroic away draw to Qatar last month compensated for the mishap in the previous match in Guwahati.
Bangladesh had to work their way through the primary rounds of the World Cup Qualifiers before pitted in Group E along with India. Bangladesh have won five out of their last 10 matches while lost four and drew the other. Most of the wins have come against weaker opponents like Bhutan, Cambodia, Pakistan and Laos. But conceding just two goals against Asian Champions Qatar will give them a boost ahead of the India clash.
Head to Head
India Won: 15
Bangladesh Won: 2
India have been the dominant side between the two having won 15 times in the 28 matches they have played among them. Bangladesh have won only twice, with the last win coming two decades back in 1999 during the SAFF Games. The odds are heavily stacked against the visitors and need to produce something extraordinary to take a point back home from the fixture. The last time these two teams played each other was back in 2014, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Looking at the track record, Bodog is backing India heavily to win the match.
The Indian legend scored the only goal for India in the qualifiers so far, which was during the Oman tie. Chhetri missed out on the vital away clash to Qatar due to health issues but will be making his comeback to the national side in the Bangladesh game. Needless to say, he will shoulder the burden of scoring goals in his 113th appearance donning the blue jersey. The Bengaluru FC forward scored a brace the last time India faced Bangladesh in a 2-2 draw during an International Friendly back in 2014. With Bodog predicting that India to score more than one goal in the upcoming match, Sunil Chhetri is expected to show sparks of brilliance.
The winger is a live wire in the wings, having already shown his capabilities in the match against Oman where he outclassed his markers several times. The opponents were finding it hard to cope up with the speedy footballer which makes him such a lethal player. Just completed an expensive transfer to Bengaluru FC from FC Pune City, the Kerala-born was left out of the playing XI in the Qatar game due to strategic reasons. But, he is going to provide the vital assists for the ‘Blue Tigers,’ in the Bangladesh tie with Bodog expecting India to score first.
Mahbubur Rahman Sufil
Even though he is not as vastly experienced as the others in the team, the pocket-size dynamite has got all the firepower to make the difference for his team in the crunch situations. The forward has been a regular for Bangladesh in the past year and has been among the goals which clearly makes his the favourite for the South Asian nation in the upcoming qualifier. Sufil scored his first international goal against Laos during an International friendly. Although he has netted twice in national colours, coach Jamie Day will be will bank on the youngster to push above his weight in front of the vociferous crowd in Kolkata.
Born and brought up in Denmark, the playmaker is the second-most experienced player in the Bangladesh line-up. Coming up through the ranks of FC Copenhagen’s youth structure, he is the one to watch out for in the creative area of the visiting team. Having already played for big cubs like Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, Sheikh Russel KC and Saif Sporting Club, Bhuyan is built for the kill under bright lights. The Indian defenders need to cut down his free-flowing play or it could pose a big threat to Igor Stimac’s side even though Bodog does not expect Bangladesh to score more than a goal in the match.
Arguably the most iconic stadiums in India, the Salt Lake Stadium has hosted numerous International fixtures and most recently matches during the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup including the final. The ‘Mecca of Indian Football’ is football is gifted with its passionate football followers who are expected to turn up on the match day and fill the stands to the brim. The last time India played a match at the venue was back on November 16, 2011, with the hosts winning the match by a 3-2 margin. As head coach Igor Stimac addressed a few days back, we are expecting an attendance of nearly 60,000 on Tuesday.
Based on the recent form, the FIFA rankings and the quality of players at disposal, India is likely to walk out with full points from the home fixture. Bodog not only backs India to win the math but also with a convincing margin. While it will be an uphill task for Bangladesh to fetch a point out of the fixture.
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
When to watch: October 15, 7.30 PM
Where to watch: Hotstar and Star Network
However, it is not only Hotstar or Star Network that will give you live updates, but you can also follow the live situation of the game through Bodog, a website that will give you a clearer understanding of the ebbs and flows of the game at any given point.
Ashraful Islam Rana (gk), Raihan Hasan, Rahamat Mia, Yeasin Khan, Tutul Hossain Badsha, Biplu Ahmed, Jamal Bhuyan, Mohammad Ibrahim, Sohel Rana, Saad Uddin, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil
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