India began their Road to Qatar 2022 on a disappointing note after a heartbreaking 1-2 loss to Oman at home in a match in which they conceded two late goals after having an upper hand for a major part.
They bounced back quickly to hold AFC Asian Cup 2019 champions and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar goalless in a tough away game. But then, they were brought back to earth after being forced to share the spoils against minnows Bangladesh at home.
Anas flies back
A win against Aghanistan is must, but the job is easier said than done as playing them in the capital city of Tajikistan, which is the base of Afghanistan, presents the Blue Tigers with numerous challenges both on and off the pitch. The unfamiliar astro-turf and sub-zero temperatures is already a concern for the team.
The eleventh hour pull out of defender Anas Edathodika, who flew back home from India's training base in Dubai due to a family emergency has compounded India's woes further as they are already without Sandesh Jhingan, who underwent a knee surgery recently.
The Sunil Chhetri-led squad is a blend of youth experience with Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, who was at the goal during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup held at home two years back, getting his maiden call up for the senior team.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Nishu Kumar, Rahul Bheke, Narender, Adil Khan, Sarthak Golui, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul Samad, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary
Kick off time, TV info
With the war-ravaged Afghanistan unable to play at home, they have chosen Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, as their home venue for the second round of AFC Zone Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The match which will be held at the Republican Central Stadium, kicks off at 7.30 pm IST (7pm local time) and will be shown live on Star Sports 1/Star Sports 2 with live streaming available on Hotstar.