Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s live blog of the Nepal vs India international friendly match being played at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.
6′ It has been a sprightly start- neither team being given too much time on the ball. End-to-end play at the Dashrath stadium in Kathmandu.
4′ Nepal did well to break the Indian press with some efficient one-touch football. The attack ends with a cross inside the Indian box but Gurpreet collects easily.
2′ India on the attack from the first minute itself as it gets a corner.
Chinglesana found himself unmarked as the ball was headed towards him but he couldn’t get his shot away. Nepal safe for now.
5:15- AND WE ARE UNDERWAY!!!
5:10 pm- Five minutes to kick-off!! A look at the official squads for today’s friendly.
5:00 pm- 15 minutes to kick-off!!! See what happened the last time the two teams met!!!
Some head to head stats for you!!
Here is the venue for today’s match- the Dashrath Stadium
4:25 pm- India starting XI ANNOUNCED!!!
India XI: Gurpreet (GK), Bheke, Bose, Mishra, Chinglesana Singh, Fernandes, Suresh Singh, Martins, Colaco, Manvir Singh, Chhetri (C)
Subs: Amrinder (GK), Kotal, Dessai, Lalengmawia, Jeakson, Thapa, Ali, Bipin, Seriton, Pronay, Yasir, Samad
Coach: Igor Stimac
The Indian men’s football team will kick start its preparations for the next month’s SAFF Championships in Maldives with the first of the two international friendly matches against Nepal here on Thursday.
The five-team SAFF Championships will be held from October 3 to October 13 at the National Stadium in Male.
Besides India, the other participating teams are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, host Maldives and Nepal.
“We are happy to be here and happy to be together again. These two international friendlies will help us prepare for the forthcoming SAFF Championship in the Maldives next month.
“I just know these games will be good and we need to learn on the pitch,” India’s head coach Igor Stimac said in a media release.
The second friendly against Nepal will be played on September 5. Both the matches will be held at the Dashrath Stadium here.
This will be the first time India will feature in an international game since playing Afghanistan in its final group match of the 2018 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint-qualifiers in Qatar on June 15.
However, with dark clouds hovering in the sky, rain threat looms large over the match. The pitch conditions at the practice ground were already tough because of torrential downpour.
“I hope that we don’t suffer heavy rains during the matches so that we can play some exciting football,” Stimac said.
“We have analysed Nepal as an opponent and the kind of progress they made in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. They have put on display that they can play quality football and can defend as a team. My colleague has done a good job and there are a lot of young players in the squad.”
India captain Sunil Chhetri thanked the ANFA and the Government of Nepal for the hospitality and the invitation to play in Kathmandu during these tough times.
“We understand the situation in the world. The hospitality has been wonderful and the opportunity to play international football is soothing for us. We want to give the best account of ourselves and get a good start for the season. Nepal are a tough opponent and we want to give as much as we can to the coach,” Chhetri said.
The talismanic India captain is the crowd favourite. Right from landing at the airport to the team hotel to the practice sessions, locals request him for a click.
“I will admit that I have a soft corner for Nepal. But, it ends the moment I step on the pitch. My mom is from Nepal and whatever sporting culture and discipline has been inculcated is all because of my mom,” Chhetri said.
“Nepal has always made it very difficult for us on the football pitch, and we are not expecting anything less. Playing Nepal at home and outside Nepal are two different things, and let’s not forget that they are the home team here.”
Nepal coach Abdullah Almutairi admitted that he has worked a lot on “changing the mentality of his players.”
“I don’t want to make people happy, rather I want to make them proud. We have been training for the last two months and there are a lot of youngsters in the squad. Our target is to win the SAFF Championship in the Maldives, and eventually qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023. We don’t care about FIFA Rankings. It will not be easy for them (India).”
Two new faces, forward Rahim Ali and defender Seriton Fernandes, made it to the men’s national football squad, which will be playing back-to-back international friendlies against Nepal in the first week of September.
A selection of 24 probable players, except players playing the AFC Cup for Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, had training of around 10 days under the charge of National coach Igor Stimac at the international training facility at Salt Lake Stadium from August 15.
The Indian squad will be leaving for Nepal on August 30 to play the friendlies on September 2 and 5 at Kathmandu.
“We can’t expect much after 10 days of preparation. The legs are still heavy from the load, and we need to slow down, and refresh the players,” Stimac said while announcing the squad of 25.
“I am happy with the manner our players performed. We need to be careful going into the next two games against Nepal. We understand that the ATK Mohun Bagan and BFC players will be in better shape than others against Nepal,” Stimac said in his assessment of the probable players who played two practice games during the camp.
Complete Indian squad
|Goalkeepers – Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Defenders – Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Akash Mishra, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes; Midfielders – Lalengmawia, Bipin Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh, Pronay Halder; Forwards – Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.|
Where can you watch?
|The friendly between Nepal vs India will be streamed live on the Indian Football Team’s official page on Facebook.|