Indian Football team beat Thailand 4-1 in their opening game of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in Abu Dhabi. This was India’s first victory in Asian Cup over 55 years and first win over Thailand in nearly 33 years. We bring to you analysis of the game and how India managed to win it.
Line-up and Tactics
Stephen Constantine made a surprise change to his starting line up by Playing Ashique Kurniyan over Jeje Lalpheklua which worked out very well as the 21 year old proved a menace for Thailand’s defence and also won a penalty.
India as expected played on the counter attack and let Thailand have majority of the possession. The Blue Tigers often broke very fast with their forwards Udanta, Chhetri,Ashique and Nazary who comfortably outran most of the opposition defenders.
Thailand were very predictable side they held possession very well in the first half and attacked in numbers. Thailand didn’t press as expected which helped India a lot in setting up counter attacks.
Initially in the first half India defended in very big numbers with at least 7 players staying back to defend. Ashique and Chhetri were the only players who were relieved of their defensive duties.
The Blue Tigers did very well in preventing Thailand at playing crosses thus preventing Teerasil Dangda’s aerial threat. The striker was quiet for most of the game and his presence was completely nullified.
India on the other hand mostly played on the counter attack. Often long balls were played to Ashique and Chhetri who managed to win them ahead of Thailand thus creating small attacking chances.
India scored their first goal in the 27th minute via a Penalty after Chhetri put Ashique through on goal with a quick through in the forwards shot was saved by the goalkeeper which fell on the hand of Thai defender resulting in penalty. Chhetri comfortably slotted the penalty scoring his 3rd goal in the Asian Cup.
Thailand equalised quickly through a Teerasil through a header from Theeraton’s free kick. This was the only occasion where the striker could display his aerial threat due to lack of creativity from his side.
Thailand were slightly the better side in the first half having more shots on goal and better chances than India but the blue tigers managed to prevent Thailand from having any sort of chances in the 18 yard box thus preventing Teerasil and Chantip.
India took back the lead in the first minute of the second half when Udanta Singh on the break outran Thai midfielders and put in a low cross to Ashique who missed the ball, the ball fell on Chhetri’s leg who slotted home India’s second goal.
India started dominating Thailand after the second goal as the War Elephants looked out of ideas and were very predictable in the build-up thus letting India break on the counter very easily.
India started dominating the game and were able to get more men in the attacks as the game went on
Sunil Chhetri put Udanta through on goal with a good pass, the winger initially mishandled the ball but played it back to Anirudh Thapa who scored his first ever international goal.
After the third goal Thailand looked out of confidence they stopped creating chances and India started to attack with more men forward.
A long ball from the defence was played to Halicharan Nazary who passed it on to substitute Jeje, The Thai defence were caught ball watching as the mizo sniper scored India’s 4th goal in the 80th minute.
India continued their dominace over Thailand preventing them from creating any sort of attack untill the refree put them out of their misery by blowing the final whistle.
Pronoy Halder will performence may go down as one of most underrated in India’s history. Th midfielder absolutely bossed the midfield winning tackles, making recoveries and setting up counter attacks. He easily pocked Thailand’s Chantip who has been nominated for Asian player of the year award and had an amaing season in the J-league.
Sunil Chhetri scored twice against Thailand but thats not all he did. He was ever present and often dropped
deeper despite playing in an advanced position to get the ball and quickly pick out players making attacking runs this resulted in the first penalty and third goal. Sunil was also very good aerially winning several duels with Thai defenders.
Udanta Singh had one of the best games of his career he made 2 assists and was amazing through the right flank often dropping back to defend. His pace was very essential in the counter attack for India and He often outran many Thai defenders.
Constantine’s decision of dropping Jeje and playing Ashique was a masterstroke as the striker was a big threat for Thailand’s defence winning aerial duels and lining up well with Sunil Chhetri.
India’s defensive organization was amazing they stopped Thailand from getting any good cross in the box and nullified their main attacking threats Teerasil and Chantip. Constantine’s tactics were spot on especially in the second half which India completely dominated resulting in the Blue Tigers first victory in Asian Cup in 55 years.