AFC Asian Cup 2019: Key battles between India and Thailand
India will be taking on Thailand tonight in their first AFC Asian Cup 2019 match, and a win will give India major confidence going into the tournament. But the Thai national team will be a tough nut to crack, considering their fearsome attacking prowess. So which Indian players will battle against their Thai opponents tonight? Who will determine the outcome? Let's discuss here.
Jhingan vs Dangda will be an interesting clash to see
Sandesh Jhingan has led the Indian defense bravely, and he will be the key to India being able to hold their fort. He will face major pressure from Thailand's Teerasil Dangda who has already scored 42 goals in 95 matches for his country. Dangda is a deep-lying forward and thus it can be difficult to hold one's position and mark him.
The battle of the wings: Kotal-Bose vs Promrak-Bunmathan
Whoever controls the wings will have the greater chances of scoring tonight. Thailand will, in all probability, use fullbacks Promrak and Bunmathan to constantly try and attack using the wings and increase pressure on the Indian defense. It will be upto India's left back Subhasish Bose and right back Pritam Kotal to keep Thai attacks in check so that India don't concede early.
India's attack will have to perform better
Sunil Chhetri and Lalpekhlua will have to fire up tonight if India want to take away a decent result from the fixture. Lalpekhlua has been pretty poor in front of the goal and despite Thailand's defense being weak, it will not be that easy for India to score. Wingers Udanta Singh and Halicharan Narzary can provide the additional flair in attack.
How should India approach the match?
The fixture will be far from easy despite India being ranked higher by FIFA. India should take a defensive approach in the first half to gauge how Thailand have approached the game, and then plan accordingly. Otherwise, if they concede a goal early on, India will have a tough time containing Thailand once the War Elephants gain confidence.