India look to conquer Kiwis

India look to conquer Kiwis

Sunil Chhetri will look to inspire India once again when they take on New Zealand in the Intercontinental Cup on Thursday. PTI

A final berth in grasp along with a morale-boosting emotional connect with the fans, the Indian football team will aim for another big win when it takes on a relatively young New Zealand in the Intercontinental Cup here on Thursday.

Sunil Chhetri's men had booked a place in the final with a 3-0 win over Kenya, with the captain himself scoring twice.

The organisers claim that the tickets for Thursday's match as well as Sunday's final have been sold out.

It remains to be seen whether coach Stephen Constantine sticks to playing his best XI or attempts a few changes to give stars like Chhetri and defender Sandesh Jhingan a break.

The match against Kenya was played under heavy rain and the soaked turf became an opposition in its own right for both the teams. The match was a physically draining one and man of the match defender Jhingan had limped off after an awkward fall.

Should Chhetri skip the match, someone like Balwant Singh might get a chance. The hosts also have an array of attacking midfielders like Udanta Singh, Anirudh Thapa and Pronay Halder.

They will have to play their part to perfection if the likes of Kiwi striker Myer Bevan have to be restricted. India also have a strong defence with players like Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das and Subhashis Bose.

The game will also be special for Jeje Lalpekhlua as it will be his 50th match in national colours.

New Zealand coach Fritz Schmid has said the game would be a big challenge. Despite India being the firm favourites, New Zealand could spoil their party by giving a tough fight.