In-form India look to assure final berth

Last Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 - 16:37

New Delhi: Closing in on a final berth after a couple of convincing wins, the Indian football team will have to guard against complacency when it takes on tournament whipping boys Nepal in the Nehru Cup here tomorrow.

Under the tutelage of Wim Koevermans, India recorded easy wins over Syria (2-1) and Maldives, who were thrashed 3-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

A win against Nepal will certainly ensure their passage to the final of a tournament they have triumphed in the last two editions, in 2007, when it was revived after a long hiatus, and in 2009, under then coach Bob Houghton.

The same can`t be said about the Himalayan nation who was battered by Cameroon (0-5) last night, two days after suffering a 1-2 defeat to Maldives.

Another acid test awaits the Nepalese as they run into an in-form team, led admirably by Portugal-returned striker Sunil Chhetri who has already found the net three times, including his double strike against Maldives.

What will make Nepal`s job tougher will be the likes of Syed Rahim Nabi, Clifford Miranda, Anthony Pereira and Gouramangi Singh who looked in good touch in the preceding matches.
Another positive for the two-time defending champions is that goalkeeper Subrata Paul has not been breached even once, and he will look to keep the slate clean against the minnows, who though, are ranked above India in the current FIFA rankings.

Despite the feel good factor in the Indian camp after the two wins, the players have their feet firmly on the ground.
They are confident, but not over confident.

"There`s no point in thinking about future matches. We face Nepal in the next match and a win will take us to the final. It`s perhaps, the most important match for us," Nabi, who had a great game against Maldives, said


First Published: Monday, August 27, 2012 - 16:37

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