Ratings: Shaky Sandhu 3/10 as India drop points at home again
Adil Khan's late equaliser helped India avoid a shock defeat against lower-ranked Bangladesh in their third group game of the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday. Despite an improved second-half performance, the hosts will rue their poor start, and particularly some sloppy defending that cost them two points in a game they were favourites to win.
After a disappointing first half, India put on a much-improved display in the second, shifting into gear and creating a handful of chances which finally led to the equaliser. Not much else to be happy about.
Other than the goal, and the clear chances created in the final ten minutes or so, pretty much everything. The defending was poor, the game plan seemed flawed, and the team lacked spark in the final third.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- If the draw against Qatar was Igor Stimac's best result as India manager, the result against Bangladesh should definitely count as his worst. His team selection promised exciting, attacking football and lots of goals -- but there was none of that. The incisive passing and fast-paced football we gotten used to in the last few India games was nowhere to be seen. Instead, some of their worst flaws and passive approach of the old resurfaced.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, 3 -- After an inspired display against Qatar, the India keeper had a night to forget. Made a howler during the set-piece that granted Bangladesh the opener. Was casual with his positioning a couple of more times, either of which could have resulted in another goal.
DF Rahul Bheke, 3 -- A nightmare game for Bheke, in possibly his worst performance for India so far. Was lucky to get away with a couple of reckless challenges in the box early on - and ultimately gave away the free kick that led to Bangladesh's opener. Struggled going forward as well and his distribution was generally poor.
DF Anas Edathodika, 4 -- Gave the ball away sloppily early on, leaving Bheke exposed. Got booked on 35 mins for a bad tackle. Came close to giving India the equaliser in the second half with a header off a corner. Taken off late for Lallianzuala Chhangte as India threw everyone forward..
DF Adil Khan, 6 -- Defensively extremely disappointing, with questionable decision-making and some dangerous back passes. However, made up for those errors with a superb header, which earns the team an important point.
DF Mandar Rao Desai, 3 -- Wasn't as shaky or careless as at left-back, but wasn't effective either. Replaced by Brandon Fernandes before the one-hour mark.
MF Anirudh Thapa, 4 -- Hardly got a chance to shine in first half. Uncharacteristically sloppy on some of his set-pieces and seemed a little low on confidence with his long range passing. Rightly replaced by Raynier Fernandes on 65 mins.
MF Sahal Abdul Samad, 5 -- He seems to excel against a high press, finding the right pass when India play on the break against better opposition. Against Bangladesh, he seemed spoiled for choice, with too much space at times, and struggled to pick the right ball.
MF Ashique Kuruniyan, 4 -- Lacked the sharpness with which he pressured the Oman defence last month. Most crosses went harmlessly behind as Bangladesh's defence dealt with him comfortably.
FW Udanta Singh, 4 -- Very poor with his crossing for the majority of the game, but improved quite a bit in the last few minutes. Didn't carry the usual threat with his pace.
FW Manvir Singh, 5 -- A curious pick in a line-up that already had three other forward players. For the most part, did a tidy job, holding the ball well and even getting an effort on target with an improvised header from a first-half corner.
FW Sunil Chhetri, 6 -- Had quite a few presentable chances, particularly in the dying moments of the game. By his standards, he should have converted at least a couple of them. Worked hard as usual, dropping deep time and again to infuse some much-needed quality in midfield.
Brandon Fernandes, 5 -- Came on for Mandar Rao Desai and added decent energy going forward. Provided the assist for Adil's goal from a corner.
Raynier Fernandes, 4 -- .Came on for the ineffective Thapa and started a series of decent moves from the back.
Lallianzuala Chhangte, N/A -- Had half a chance to shoot with his left foot late on, which he put wide. Not too many other notable touches.