India aim to repeat heroics against Kenya in the Final
The much-awaited final of the inaugural Hero Intercontinental Cup will feature hosts India taking on Kenya at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. Topping the table with six points and eight goals from three matches, the Blue Tigers will be eager to add another trophy to their cabinet against fellow finalists Kenya, whom they had beaten 3-0 in their previous encounter. Though they faced a 2-1 setback against New Zealand in their last match, the loss is surely not going to deter Stephen Constantine’s men, who would be looking to finish their tournament on a perfect note.
A look at how India will shape up:
With the quality at their disposal, India remain as favourites to be crowned champions. After having given youngsters a chance to start the game on Thursday against the All Whites, Constantine is expected to field a full-strength side on Sunday. In attack, the deadly combination of Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua may make a comeback. Captain Chhetri has been in scintillating form and is currently the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.
Youngster Anirudh Thapa has been a breath of fresh air in midfield with his energy and creativity, while Pronay Halder has acted as a reliable disruptor. In the wings, Udanta Singh and Halicharan Narzary have provided the much-needed width and pace going forward, and would be expected to deliver more of the same in the final.
The defensive combination of Subhasish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal and Anas Edathodika have been rock-solid at the back and is sure to start together. Custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been a commanding presence between the sticks having kept clean sheets in both the fixtures he has featured in and will no doubt be called upon during Sunday’s clash.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Lalruatthara, Narayan Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Subhasish Bose
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Mohammed Rafique, Halicharan Narzary, Laldanmawia Ralte
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Alen Deory
A look at how Kenya will shape up:
After a narrow victory over New Zealand in their opening encounter, the Harambee Stars fell to a 3-0 defeat against India. With their clash against Chinese Taipei being the deciding game of the tournament, where they needed three goals to qualify, the Kenyan outfit scored four to trump the All Whites and set up a final clash with the Blue Tigers.
Though rain played spoilsport in their previous fixture against India, the kind of threat they possess was quite evident. With a better understanding of India’s gameplay and tactics, Kenya will be better prepared to take on India on Sunday. With their physicality being their best quality, head coach Sebastien Migne will be fielding more or less the same squad which featured in their last fixture. That fact that four different scorers found the back of the net for Kenya in their 4-0 win means that India need to be wary of threats coming in from all quarters. Overall, Kenya have a more than outside chance of causing the hosts all sorts of problems.
Goalkeepers: Timothy Odhiambo, Patrick Matasi, Bryne Omondi
Defenders: Jockins Atudo, Musa Mohammed, Michael Kibwage, Bernard Ochieng, Dennis Odhiambo, Johnstone Omurwa, Bolton Omwenga, Erick Ouma
Midfielders: Kenneth Muguna, Vincent Wasambo, Patilla Omoto, Chrispin Oduor, Clifton Miheso, Duncan Otieno
Attackers: Ovella Ochieng, Timothy Otieno, John Makwatta, Pistone Mutamba
India head coach Constantine: “I think what happened on the ground in the previous match is done and dusted. When we go to the next game, we can’t take anything for granted and we will definitely not take anything for granted. I think Kenya showed yesterday (against Chinese Taipei), that they are capable, especially from set pieces. We need to be very careful. Of course, we respect them but we will try to win the game. We have a psychological advantage, so we will see.”
Watch the match live on the Star Sports Network from 8pm onward.