Let's Football Live Twitter Space: Crucial Cambodia win, Brandon's magic and Afghanistan challenge discussed

India made a winning start to the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers with a 2-0 triumph over Cambodia at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Sunil Chhetri was once again the man who delivered the goods as he scored a brace to send India to the top of the group standings after the first round of matches. 

Listen to the full LFL Twitter Space podcast below: 

Looking back at the opening match, Hero ISL experts Paul Masefield, Darren Caldeira, Anant Tyagi discussed the Blue Tigers' performance and the takeaways from the Cambodia match during the Let's Football Live Twitter Space where they also took questions from fans on the match and also the upcoming assignment against Afghanistan.

Here are the excerpts from the discussion:

On immediate takeaway from India's win

Anant Tyagi: The immediate take away was men's national team back playing at home after almost three years, in the Mecca of Indian football, playing witness to it fans back for national team games. Chhetri brace, clean sheet and we can talk about the 17 shots or the 71% possession. I think it was the corners or the fact that both goals technically came from set pieces and the lack of urgency and creativity against Cambodia's low block as we saw. But the most important thing is the score line. 

Paul Masefield: It's all about the three points. Let's just put everything aside, India needs to qualify it is as simple as that and three points in the bag is the perfect way to start. It doesn't matter whether it was 1-0 or 2-0. They controlled the game. They were a little bit sloppy at times in the middle of the park, conceding possession. And yes, the urgency wasn't there and it's going to come with time. But you only get that from playing matches. And to be fair, they controlled it from literally the first minute when Liston had that opportunity. They've won the game and got the three points that matters the most.

Darren Caldeira: You know the most important thing at the end is getting all those three points and they could have done a lot better in front of goal. I felt at times you know they were moving the ball around a little too slowly. I would say which allowed Cambodia to defend a lot better, but they got two goals. They kept a clean sheet. The defense didn't get tested enough, so that's another thing.

Match Report: Sunil Chhetri nets a brace as India cruise past Cambodia in AFC Asian Cup qualifiers opener

On importance of Brandon Fernandes to the team

Paul Masefield: Just having Brandon back in the team gives them that a little bit more impetus to go forwards because he's got great ability. Great technique. He's got great vision as well. So, that could be pivotal moving forwards, but having Brandon back in the qualifiers would make a big difference.

Darren Caldeira: Brandon's been there on the Indian football circuit for a long time now. He's played a lot of football and like maybe mentioned earlier, he’s always got his head up and he's always waiting for someone to make a run. So, if you want to get the best out of Brandon is you need midfield runners or you need your strikers making runs in behind the defense. In yesterday’s game pretty much, everything is coming through Brandon in terms of in the final third, so Afghanistan wants to mark him and make sure he doesn't get too much time on the ball. But, like we've been talking about Brandon's quality, whenever he gets that ball, he's always looking for that final pass. You know, pretty much everything is coming through Brandon in terms of in the final third, so they'll want to mark him and make sure he doesn't get too much time on the ball.

Also Read: Happy to win and keep a clean sheet, but we can do better, says Sunil Chhetri

On the challenge of facing Afghanistan in the next match

Paul Masefield: Match against Afghanistan would be a massive challenge. In fact, purely and simply from the fact that there are wounded animal they got done by Hong Kong. I think that a lot of people out there thought that Afghanistan would take the three points and be comfortable in doing so. If they lose tomorrow, they're out. I don't think there's anything to be scared about if India sticks to their game plan, they can break down Afghanistan.

Anant Tyagi: I think what's changed is that India has a point to prove much bigger than what they did back then. But yeah, it's a chance at redemption for India. We played them twice in the World Cup qualifiers. They're almost becoming a Sri Lanka to us. And with what's happened with Afghanistan in the previous game I think it would be hurting them and they would want to put everything.

Darren Caldeira: I read a quote from Afghanistan coach Anoush Dastgir press confrence that in the last two games against India, the Indian team were very lucky. So, this time we're here for the revenge. I kind of disagree with Afghanistan's coach.  Yes, the Indian team took a while to settle down, especially in that 2019 match and Afghanistan were the better side. But in that second half India did come back. You know, the Blue Tigers had a couple of missed chances but did get that equalizer which they deserved. But saying that India was lucky, i don't agree with that. It doesn't really bother players as much or sometimes you can even use it as added motivation. So, I don't think a lot of the players would be too worried about you know what the Afghanistan, the management or the players are talking about. India knows this is a massive game for them. If they can pick all three points again in the next one, it's just going to be more confidence for them and going into that final game against Hong Kong.

Your Comments