It is a do or die match for us: Houghton

August 2nd, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

By Abhishek Roy
Hyderabad, Aug 2 (IANS) India’s football coach Bob Houhgton says his team has largely overcome injury worries, enabling him field his best eleven in the must-win last group match against Turkmenistan here Sunday to stay alive in the AFC Challenge Cup. Both India and Turkmenistan have four points each but the latter enjoys a better goal difference and leads Group A.

A win will help India move into the semi-finals of the tournament and a large victory margin will help them avoid the possibility of facing tournament favourites North Korea, who in all probability will top Group B. If India finish second, they may face the Koreans in the semi-finals.

For the moment, Houghton is not looking beyond Sunday’s match and is planning for nothing but a win against Turkmenistan at the Gachibowli Stadium.

“It is a do or die match for us and the boys are looking for a win. It will be tough but we can win if we play to our plan,” the coach told reporters after the team’s practice session at the Gymkhana Club in Secunderabad.

Turkmenistan are four spots below India at 158th in the FIFA rankings - but that doesn’t necessarily mean it would affect the outcome of Sunday’s game in India’s favour.

Houghton refused to reveal his strategy but he is known to have drawn up meticulous plans to stop Turkmenistan.

India will miss its two reliable defenders - Deepak Mondal and Mahesh Gawli.

Mondal, who suffered an injury in the first match against Afghanistan, has been ruled out of the tournament, while Gawli is not fully fit but may come in as a substitution during the game.

“Everyone in my team knows his role. I don’t think the absence of one or two players will make any difference,” he said.

Surkumar Singh, Anwar Ali, Gourmangi Singh and Sameer Naik will man the defence and Renedy Singh will be back in the midfield after being rested against Tajikistan.

Besides Renedy, Steven Dias, Climax Lawrence and N.P. Pradeep will be the other mid-fielders with Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chettri upfront.

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