India U22 vs Iraq U22
Royal Oman Police Stadium, Muscat
7:45pm Local Time, 9:15pm IST
Spirited India U22 football team face strong Iraq U22 side today in their second match of the AFC U22 Championship Qualifiers in the Royal Oman Police Stadium.
In the opening match, India thrashed Lebanon by a 5-2 margin riding on braces from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Alwyn George while Manandeep netted one.
Iraq on the other hand is coming with a 4-0 win against Turkmenistan in their kitty. Iraq were 3-0 up against Turks when the latter went 1 man down due to red card and finished the game with 4-0 scoreline.
Iraq is a powerhouse at the senior level in Asia ranked 74 in the world just behind China and are known to play a physical game being well built. Undoubtedly they are the favourites going into the game.
Nevertheless, Indian coach Arthur Papas is quite positive about the match at hand.
We will fight and try for a positive result. So far, the boys have shown excellent character
In the previous game, Lebanon was an unknown entity but the Indian colts took no time to read them and an take advantage of their flaws. This time, Papas had watched Iraq against Turkmenistan and has a lot of stuff while going to the drawing board. When asked what would e his approach against Iraq, Papas said,
We need to be cautious. Iraq are one of the strongest teams in Asia. It’s true we will take a lot of confidence from our match against Lebanon. But against Iraq, it will be a different match altogether
Papas had fielded 3 debutants in the previous game, all of whom proved their worth.
Jeje Lalpekhlua Alwyn George will be a big bets for India as they face the Iraqi side.
The match kicks-off at 7:15 pm local time, 9:15 pm IST
With inputs from AIFF media manager Nilanjan Datta.