Under the scorching sun small yet noisy crowd at the Guam Football Association Stadium added the flare to the afternoon atmosphere. However, it was not India’s day they suffered their second consecutive defeats in the 2018 pre world cup qualification game at the hands of Guam. This time also the margin was 2-1. Guam, a US territory does not even have a proper stadium.
174 ranked Guam humiliated 141 ranked India with a 2-1 victory. Yes, Gary White had a plan for India, and his team bruised India in front of 4253 spectators. The tiny island looked too much for India’s nonchalant, exhausted team. Sunil Chhetri achieved his individual feat by notching up his 50th international with a spectacular header which went past Guam goal keeperDouglas Herrick, but that was just a consolation in a losing cause.
India, like in the Oman match, never looked threatening. On the other hand a rejuvenated Guam, fresh from their 1-0 victory over Turkmenistan confronted India with vigour.
In the first half India were enjoying early possession, Vineeth’s shot was blocked inside the box. But within ten minutes Guam midfield got hold the ball and had enjoyed way more possession than the visitors. India, bettered by the Guam players, were nowhere close in terms of speed. On the 23rd minute dominating Guam got chance, if Arnab Mondal did not intercept it could have given Guam their first goal. However, in the 38th minute Guam took the lead, Brandon Marquee leapt high to send a header from Ryan Guy’s long throw in.
Earlier, Eugene Lyngdoh, got a yellow card in the seventh minutes for tackling down a Guam player.
India coach Stephen Constantine urged Vineeth and Jacki to change their flank, but that did not help India. Guam preferred to attack down the right.
Midway through the match Vineeth brought down by Guam player. Sehnaj Singh took the free kick which sailed over the bar.
In counterattack Guam got their first real chance in the match, Trvis Nicklaw failed to tap into on open net.
Two minutes before the first half India got a free kick near the corner flag, but Robin’s shot flied over.
In the second half India tried to turn the game around them, replaced Sehnaj and Eugene with Lobo and Ganesh. Like the first half India started with better ball possession. As the game progressed Guam was fluent in attack and earned a free kick, which could have been dangerous, however, it sailed wide of the bar. Guam opted to slow the game down, squandering time. Guam have then opted to reorganise the attack and came hard on India on counter attacks; Travis Nicklaw’s goal put Guam on 2-0 lead.
India tried to rip through the opposition’s defense with a series of attack, but denied by Guam defenders each of the time. Finally on the 93rd minute Sunil reduced the margin with a spectacular header from a Jeje cross, who replaced Jackichand on 65th minute of the match. India had no option but to take consolation from the goal as referee whistled for the final time in the match.
Next match India will play mighty Iran on September 8, before that Stephen Constantine has to improve a lot of thing.