It was a test aimed to build the Team for the future testing cohesion and chemistry. And perhaps it gave us a glimpse of the Indian National Team’s future potential.
A disciplined and organized India went down fighting 3-0 to ‘Giants of Asia’ Iran in the Russia 2018 Preliminary Joint Qualification on a windy Tuesday night at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
A 29th minute goal by the ‘Iranian Messi’, Sardar Azmoun and two early goals in the second half, within a span of five minutes earned three points for travelling contingent. However, ranked 115 places below Iran in the FIFA Rankings, India seldom showed signs of fear and their spirits were not deterred. Shuffling his pack, Coach Stephen Constantine gave debut to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, making him the 498th Indian to don the Blue jersey. With Jeje playing off Robin Singh upfront, and Sunil Chhetri playing just behind the two, India jotted down some quick moves around Iran’s 18 yard box. At halftime, Iran led courtesy of a Sardar Azmoun goal.
Changing over, and Iran scored two quick-fire goals early in the second half. An Andranik Teymourian goal in the 46th minute was followed by Mehid Taremi’s in the 49th.
India XI against Iran: Gupreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Narayan Das, Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, Eugeneson Lyngdoh (Jackichand Singh – 62nd minute), Dhanpal Ganesh (Rowlin Borges – 13th minute), Pronoy Halder, Sunil Chhetri (Captain), Robin Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua (Cavin Lobo – 79th minute)