India vs Singapore: Preview and Prediction￼
Riding high on confidence after qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, India begins their preparation for the quadrennial extravaganza by locking horns with Singapore at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The match will kick off at 05:30 PM IST and will be live streamed on Jio TV and Eurosport.
India is currently ranked 104th in FIFA rankings while their opponents Singapore are positioned 159th in the table. The Blue Tigers qualified for the AFC Asian Cup second time in a row but Singapore missed out after finishing third in their qualifying group.
The Blue Tigers will be banking on the striking prowess of Sunil Chhetri and the trickery of Ashique Kuruniyan, which proved pivotal on their path to qualification for the AFC Asian Cup.
India will be returning to competition after three months of hiatus as the players engaged themselves in pre-season competitions like Durand Cup 2022.
Prior to that, they beat Cambodia 2-0 where Sunil Chhetri struck a brace – one from a penalty in the 14th minute and the other from a cheeky header off a Brandon Fernandes cross in the 60th minute.
After staying goalless for 85 minutes, Sunil Chhetri’s free-kick from the edge of the box nestled into the top corner as India took the lead. Zohib Islam Amiri equalised two minutes later but substitute Ashique Kuruniyan slipped a pass for Sahal Abdul Samad in the 91st minute to score the winner.
Against Hong Kong, India made their intentions clear in the 2nd minute as Anwar Ali found the net. Sunil Chhetri once again found his name in the scoresheet as Manvir Singh and Ishan Pandita piled further misery late in the game to complete a 4-0 routing.
Singapore got a tough group in the form of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar in their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. They suffered a 2-1 and 1-0 loss to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in their first two encounters and bowed out of the qualifiers.
Playing for pride, Ikhsan Fandi struck a hat-trick while Song Ui-young, Gabriel Quak, and Hafiz Nor scored the other goals in a 6-2 demolition of Myanmar. Singapore started their Hung Thinh Tournament 2022 with a 4-0 loss to Vietnam.
Head to Head Record
India and Singapore have squared off against each other twelve times in the past. While the Blue Tigers won four matches, their opponents gained the upper hand seven times. One match ended in a draw.
Ten years earlier, India and Singapore faced off last time where the Blue Tigers suffered a 2-0 loss. This will be the first meeting between them since then.
India’s coach Igor Stimac has dropped Pritam Kotal, Manvir Singh, and Subhasish Bose while giving chances to Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rahul KP, and Harmanjot Singh Khabra. Sandesh Jhingan and Chinglensana Singh joined the squad late in Vietnam owing to visa issues.
Singapore is expected to make a couple of changes against India. Ikhsan Fandi and Shahdan Sulaiman missed out due to illness but can make a return.
Predicted Starting XIs
India (4-2-3-1): Amrinder Singh; Roshan Singh Naorem, Anwar Ali, Narender Gehlot, Akash Mishra; Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam; Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ashique Kuruniyan; Sunil Chhetri
Singapore (4-3-3): Hassan Sunny; Ryaan Sanizal, Hariss Harun, M Anumanthan, Hafiz Nor; Adam Swandi, Shah Shahiran, Shahdan Sulaiman; Taufik Suparno, Ilhan Fandi, Ikhsan Fandi
Singapore’s weak defense was exploited by Vietnam and India should do the same. Considering the contrasting set of forms, the head-to-head advantage gets nullified. Hence, we predict a 3-0 win for India.