World Cup qualifier: India have nothing to lose against UAE

July 27th, 2011 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) India will have to go all out Thursday in the return leg of their FIFA World Cup Asian leg qualifier as they have nothing to lose after going down 0-3 in the first leg against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi.

India have to win by a four-goal margin to qualify for the second round. It is a mountain to climb, admitted India coach Armando Colaco.

There was more bad news for the hosts on the eve of the match, the first-leg defeat sent them hurtling down six place to 153 in the FIFA rankings while the Emirates moved up one place to 109th.

Red cards to defender Debabrata Roy and goalkeeper Subrata Paul pushed India on the backfoot within 23 minutes in Saturday’s match. But they fought well for over an hour with nine men, conceding just one goal, the third one coming in the 81st minute.

Colaco said India have nothing to lose and hoped that the boys will find some luck at Ambedkar Stadium here, which is India’s favourite international soccer venue. He also expressed apprehension that they could be in trouble if they leave too many open spaces in the rear.

“It is impossible to mount relentless pressure on the opponents for full 90 minutes, we have to play a compact game,” he said.

Syed Rahim Nabi will withdraw to the right-back position to strengthen the defence with Raju Gaekwad, Gourmangi Singh and Sameer Naik, and Karanjit Singh under the bar.

Steven Dias, Mehtab Hussain, Clifford Miranda and captain Climax Lawrence will form the mid-field while Jeje Lalpeklua and Sunil Chettri will be playing upfront.

“We have to attack through the flanks and Steven and Climax will have a crucial role to play. I have asked them to express themselves, but it may prove counter productive if we leave too many loose areas. We have to make sure there are no gaps in defence,” Colaco said.

The UAE’s Slovenian coach Srecko Katanec said India play attacking game for the first 15-20 minutes before fizzling out. At the same time, he warned his boys not to undermine the Indians.

Katanec’s boys were criticised for the way they tried to humiliate Lebanon when midfielder Awana Diab backheeled the penalty kick to score their last goal in a 6-2 victory earlier this month.

The Slovenian, who doesn’t want to talk about the incident, said the player was rebuked for his action.

“It is not the way you treat opponents. Awana was censured for the action and I hope he has learnt from the incident,” he said.

Lauding India’s performance in Abu Dhabi, the Slovenian admitted that it is impossible to prevent an opposition from scoring goals with just nine men.

“It is very difficult to stop the opposition from scoring with just nine men. We still had our chances. We have a three-goal cushion but we have to respect India,” said Katanec.

India: Karanjit Singh; Samir Naik, Gourmangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Rahim Nabi; Steven Dias, Mehtab Hossain, Climax Lawrence, Clifford Miranda; Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpeklua

UAE: Ali Khaseif Humad Khaseif Housani; Hamdan Ismaeel Mohemad Al Kamali, Abdullah Mousa Mohamed Ahmed Esmaeil Al Bloushi, Yousef Jaber, Walid Al-Bloushi; Ismail Salem Ismail Saeed Al Hammadi, Ali Al-Wehaibi, Amir Mubarak, Amer Abdulrahman Abdullah Hussein Al Hamadi; Mohamed Saeed Rashed Saiwed Al Shehhi, Ahmed Khalil Sebait Mubarak Al Junaibi.

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