Indian Football: India vs. Bahrain- Preview and Predictions, 2019 AFC Asian Cup news, former Olympian Zulfiqar dies, and much more…

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Welcome to another edition of Indian football news roundup. Today, we will preview and predict the result of the India vs. Bahrain football match in the group stages of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, former Olympian Mohammed Zulfiqar’s death, Indian Arrows’ win over Shillong Lajong in the I-League, the mood in the dressing room ahead of the clash against Bahrain, and the results of Japan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan’s matches in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

In case you missed out yesterday’s edition of the Indian football news roundup, you can check it out here.

2019 AFC Asian Cup: India vs. Bahrain- Preview and Predictions

The Blue Tigers will be aiming for nothing less than three points in their encounter against Bahrain
The Blue Tigers will be aiming for nothing less than three points in their encounter against Bahrain

India will lock horns with Bahrain on 14th January at the Al-Sharjah Stadium in their third and final group stage encounter of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. A win or a draw will take them through to the next round of the tournament and, even if they lose, they can qualify for the Round of 16 if UAE beats or draw against Thailand.

Bahrain is coming off a 1-1 draw against the hosts UAE, and a 1-0 loss against Thailand. A draw or a loss will send them home packing and a win will finish them at second spot. Their coach Miroslav Soukup likes to play Bahrain in a 4-4-2 formation with Mohamed Al-Romaihi and Jamel Rashid leading the pack. The Indian midfielders will have to be, in particular, be wary of Ali Jaafar Madan’s threat as he is known for winning fouls in dangerous positions owing to his scintillating dribbling skills and pace.

All that being said, the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, and Anirudh Thapa should get the better of Bahraini defenders and wreak havoc upon them. The Blue Tigers shouldn’t have a cakewalk but walk away with a comfortable victory.

Fulltime Predictions: India 3-1 Bahrain

Former Olympian Mohammed Zulfiqar passes away at 83

Mohammed Zulfiqar was a part of the 1956 Olympics team that finished fourth
Mohammed Zulfiqar was a part of the 1956 Olympics team that finished fourth

Former Indian Olympian Mohammed Zulfiqar passed away at 83 in Hyderabad on Sunday. The octogenarian is survived by three sons and two daughters.

Mohammed Zulfiqar was a part of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic squad. Although he didn’t play a single match in the tournament, he was an integral part of the golden generation of Indian football and won numerous accolades for Andhra Pradesh and the clubs he represented.

He captained the Andhra Pradesh team in the Santosh Trophy from 1955 to 1967 and the Andhra Pradesh Police team from 1954 to 1967 which won IFA Shield, Durand Cup and Rovers Cup tournaments.

AIFF condoled the revered footballer’s death in a press release. “It is sad to hear that Mr. Zulfiqaruddin is no more. His contribution to Indian Football will never be forgotten. I share the grief,” said the AIFF President Praful Patel.

I-League Live Score: Indian Arrows humiliate Shillong Lajong 3-0

The Indian Arrows players celebrate after scoring against Shillong Lajong
The Indian Arrows players celebrate after scoring against Shillong Lajong

Indian Arrows humiliated Shillong Lajong 3-0 at the at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Sunday afternoon. This win takes the Blue Colts to the eights position with 13 points from 12 matches, only behind Minerva Punjab on a head-to-head count.

The first half was one-way traffic with Shillong Lajong defense and midfield being in complete shambles. Ashish Rai dribbled his way past two Shillong Lajong defenders and delivered an inch-perfect pass towards Vikram Pratap Singh who made no mistake in giving Indian Arrows the lead in the 18th minute.

The goalscorer turned into the provider in the 32nd minute when he went past his marker and sent Lalengmawia through. The U-17 World Cupper took a couple of touches to control the ball before unleashing the shot from just inside the box which went past the goalkeeper.

Rohit Danu was the architect of the third goal as his incisive through pass split open the Lajong defense and Vikram Pratap Singh found himself in a one-on-one position with the goalkeeper. His initial shot was saved but the rebound fell kindly towards Ninthoingamba Meetei who kept his composure in front of the empty net.

The Indian Arrows will next try to put a dent on East Bengal’s title aspirations when they collide on 18th of January at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

2019 AFC Asian Cup: Indian team confident to get their 2011 AFC Asian Cup revenge against Bahrain

Sunil Chhetri will be representing India for the 107th time
Sunil Chhetri will be representing India for the 107th time

The Indian football team is confident of getting their 2011 AFC Asian Cup revenge against Bahrain on Monday. In case you don’t know, the two sides crossed swords eight years ago and Bahrain obliterated India 5-2, with Sunil Chhetri and Gouramangi Singh scoring the goals for Blue Tigers then.

Speaking to the AIFF Media Team, Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said, “Eight years down the line we are back in the Asian Cup playing Bahrain again. Things are different, the teams are different. But we are in a better situation.”

Sandesh Jhingah, who revealed that he had tears in his eyes seeing India lose to Bahrain, couldn’t believe that he will face the very same Gulf nation eight years later in the same tournament. “I remember I had tears in my eyes that day, and made one of those crazy promises that you make as a kid – I’m going to play for India one day and bring glory. But here I am today, ready to play against them tomorrow,” said the Kerala Blasters defender.

2019 AFC Asian Cup: Japan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan cruise through to the next round with comfortable victories

Japan pipped Oman in a tightly contested affair
Japan pipped Oman in a tightly contested affair

Japan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan cruised through to the Round of 16 of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with victories over Oman, North Korea, and Turkmenistan respectively.

First up was the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts, Qatar, who showed no mercy in obliterating North Korea 6-0, the heaviest one in the competition so far. Almoez Ali found the back of the net four times and Boualem Khoukhi and Abdelkarim Hassan netted once to complete North Korea’s routing.

The encounter between Japan and Oman was a tightly-contested one with the Blue Samurais edging their way through a well-taken spot kick in the 28th minute. Genki Haraguchi’s goal was enough to separate the two sides as Oman failed to breach Japan’defensece in the second half.

Uzbekistan continued their fine form into the tournament as they picked up a 4-0 win over their Central Asian neighbors Turkmenistan. Javokhir Sidikov opened the floodgates in the 17th minute before Eldor Shomurodov struck a brace and Jaloliddin Masharipov scored one goal to put a halt in Turkmenistan’s ambitions to qualify for the next round.