Top ranked nation in Group E, a superior Uzbekistan will face a spirited India in the AFC Under-23 Qualifiers curtain raiser in Dhaka today. The encounter that promises to be a battle of physique and tactics will kick-off on 3pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The Uzbeks, the physically superior team among the two, however, will also have to fight with the hot and humid conditions existing in Dhaka which they are not accustomed with. On the other hand, the rising stars of neighbours India will rely on the tactical aspect to restrict their opponent.
Bakhtiar Ashurmatov, the coach of Uzbekistan, however, tried to play it low. “We don’t regard us as the favourites, we have arrived here seven days before the kick-off and I hope that players have adapted to the conditions, we expect very tough challenge from India and we are ready to take the challenge. There are no injury in the team and winning the first match is very important,” said Bakhtiar.
His counterpart Savio Medeira, the Indian coach is also aware of their opponent’s strength and said, “India will fight from the very beginning and everybody is aware of the standards of Uzbekistan, regarding the preparations I can say I think we are the least prepared team with only 20 days of preparation, however I have the confidence on my players and I believe they will fight to play a good brand of football. On a given day everything is possible in football,” he said. Although India will miss the service of their key player Sandesh Jingan who is suffering from food poisoning.