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Henry Menezes: If India score first against Bangladesh, floodgates might open

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The former goalkeeper feels that Igor Stimac’s men did a phenomenal job against Qatar to frustrate the Asian Champions with just 10-men…

Former India goalkeeper Henry Menezes believes that the Blue Tigers should defeat Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying games in Qatar. 

If the Blue Tigers do manage to win their last two games, they will finish third in the group and be able to qualify directly to the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers. 

Menezes believes that psychologically, India (105) have the upper hand over Bangladesh (184) and Afghanistan (149) because they are ranked significantly lower to the Blue Tigers.

“The next two games are going to be very open. It is not going to be like playing Qatar. The teams are lower than us in rankings so psychologically we will have that edge over them. We should get six points from the next two matches. There are no two options. We have to do that. We have played the tough team and now we should go for the kill,” opined the AIFF’s (All India Football Federation) Technical Committee member.

Though Bangladesh held India in the reverse fixture, Menezes thinks that if India get the first goal on Monday, the floodgates might open. 

“We need to score the first goal and that will force the other team to open up and then we will get more opportunities. The strikers and the midfielders will have a great job in the next two matches,” he stated. 

India are coming off a 1-0 loss to Qatar where they were down to 10-men for more than 70 minutes. Apart from the experienced candidates like Gurpreet Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan, the younger players like Suresh Wangjam, Lalengmawia, Akash Mishra also impressed in defence for Stimac’s men.

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Menezes was pleasantly surprised with their performance as ‘they ably held the fort against Qatar’. 

 

He also questioned Rahul Bheke’s controversial red card, which forced India to go down to 10-men for the bulk of the match. 

“I think the second yellow was a little bit dicey. I don’t know why he gave the second yellow card. A similar incident happened in the second half with a Qatari player, but the card was not shown. However, Once India went down to 10-men all the players started taking more responsibility to fight back.

“But we have to accept that other than gritty defending we could not hold onto the ball at all. And once India had ball possession the opponents were all over us. Their man-to-man was pretty impressive. They were psychologically on top of us. They didn’t allow us to play more than five passes. We have to accept that. When you are playing for an ISL club you have the support of the foreign players but there in the national team that is lacking. However, what India did against Qatar was phenomenal,” he commented. 

India currently stand fourth in the table with three points from six matches.

 

 



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