Competition: International Friendlies
Date: 3 September 2016
Kick off: 8 p.m. (local time)
Venue: Mumbai Football Arena (Mumbai)
TV listings: Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2
India will host Puerto Rico in an international friendly match on Saturday. Puerto Rico are ranked 114th according to latest FIFA rankings in August and are stronger team than India who are placed 38 places below their rivals. This will be the first time when a team from CONCACAF confederation play against India. So the game is very important for the Indian national team to show the world that their football is on the rise.
India: Team News
India is coached by English coach Stephen Constantine who has been in charge of the national team of India since 2015. Recently, the team is on an impressive run of form winning three out of last three games after back to back losses against Iran and Turkmenistan.
In their last game, India beat Bhutan 3-0 in a friendly match thanks to the goals of Sumeet Passi, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Holi Charan Narzary. Before defeating Bhutan, India overcame the challenge of Laos in both legs of Asian Cup Qualification with emphatic aggregate scoreline of 7-1. Jeje Lalpekhlua starred for India in both of these games, scoring winning goal in the first leg and hitting another double in the return leg to provide 6-1 victory to his team.
But it is obvious, India are going to face a different beast when they battle against Puerto Rico tonight (with due respect to Bhutan and Laos).
Speaking ahead of the game, the British manager Constantine said the following.
“We are very motivated to play against a side ranked 114. If you want to go higher it’s important that you play against stronger sides.”
“I would rather lose 4-0 to Iran than win 3-0 against a weaker nation.”
“There will be no change to our approach. We will play the same manner we played against Iran. We will play attacking football.”
India squad vs. Puerto Rico
Goalkeepers: Subrata Paul, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh.
Defenders: Rino Anto, Sandesh Jhingan, Arnab Mondal, Keegan Pereira, Chinglensana Konsham Singh, Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das, Fulganco Cardozo.
Midfielders: Vinit Rai, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Pronay Halder, Jackichand Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Bikash Jairu, Rowllin Borges, Alwyn George, Germanpreet Singh, Mohammed Rafique, Seityasen Singh, Arjun Tudu.
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sumeet Passi, Halicharan Narzary, Daniel Lalhimpuia
Puerto Rico: Team News
Interestingly, Puerto Rico will face India without their head coach Carlos Garcia Cantarero and three top attackers — Hector Ramos, Jorge Rivera, and Joseph Marrero. They are reportedly absent from the squad due to missing their flight from New York to Mumbai! Despite this fact, Puerto Rico boast better players in almost every area of the pitch than India. So no doubt they will be approaching this game to claim a victory.
Puerto Rico squad vs. India
Christofer Alexander Echevarria Del Valle, Johnny Santana Ramirez, Joan Sebastian Morales Feliciano, Juan Gabriel Velez Lago, Emmanuel Alejandro D’Andrea Yepez, Juan Antonio Agustin Coca Nogueras, Marcos Junior Martinez Amaro, Elliot M Velez Lago, Andres Nicolas Cabrero Gomez, Emanuel Miguel Benedetto Sanchez, Micheal Anthony Ramon Ramos, Javier Orlando Lalondriz Fernandez, Alexis Rivera Curet, Jacob Rafael Conde, Karlos Francisco Ferrer Mojica, and Jose A Martinez.
India vs. Puerto Rico: Prediction
Although Puerto Rico seem to be a stronger team in paper, they have to be wary of the threat posed by India. The Tigers are on a winning run, unlike Puerto Rico who head into the game on the back of two consecutive losses against the Dominican Republic. Home advantage also will assist India a lot, not to mention the absence of the significant members of Puerto Rico.
Final Predicted Score: India 2-2 Puerto Rico
India vs. Puerto Rico: Live Streaming
You can watch the match India vs. Puerto Rico live online by following the link provided at the bottom of this article. The link will be updated just before kick off.
[Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images]