Wadoo, Pereira strike as India beat Namibia 2-0

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NEW DELHI - Amid the disappointment of dropping 22 places to 160th in the FIFA rankings, there was finally some good news as India won 2-0 against higher ranked Namibia in their third international football friendly of the year here Wednesday.

Strikes from Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Anthony Pereira brought back the cheers in the Indian team that was reeling after two consecutive losses against Thailand earlier this month.

But the win against 116th ranked Namibia, who had left out their Europe-based players from the squad, was far from impressive. Bob Houghton’s team has plenty to catch up as just four months are left for the Asian Cup in Doha.

The star of the day was goalkeeper Subrata Paul, who with his acrobatic saves, assured that India get full points from the match at the Ambedkar Stadium.

India went into the match with a new attacking pair of Abhishek Yadav and US-return Sunil Chettri. While Yadav, who was wearing the armband, was impressive, Chettri yet again let down with a mediocre performance.

Yadav kept his head cool and marshalled the attack but there was hardly any co-ordination between him and Chettri, who missed passes galore.

Yadav with his swift movements made regular inroads in the Nambian defence and didn’t disappoint chief coach Houghton, who on the eve of the match had said that Yadav is in his best form in the last four years.

India played well in the first half, it was Nambia that had the first shot at the goal but Paul, who is in sublime touch, made an acrobatic save to thwart the powerful shot of Quinton Jacobs.

Jacobs and Micheal Piennar troubled the Indians, but the defence was resolute. Anwar, who was a doubtful starter, and Gourmangi Singh showed yet again why they are the best central defenders in the country.

India slowly gathered the momentum with the combination of Anthony Pereira and Clifford Miranda working well in the wings, but the midfield was far from impressive.

The hosts got the lead in the 27th minute after Wadoo’s wayward shot got deflected into the net from a Nambian defender. Ten minutes later, India again came close to double the lead, with Miranda’s powerful shot being saved by goalkeeper Attiel Mbaha and Yadav’s shot from the rebound hit the bar.

Three minutes before the half-time Wadoo again came close to complete his brace, but his powerful right footer missed the post by a whisker.

Ten minutes into the second half, Pereira’s curling free-kick from the top of the box took everybody by surprise at it sailed into the net to double India’s lead.

Bhaichung Bhutia came in on as a substitute in the 65th minute but had to be replaced by Mohammad Rafi in the injury time after he pulled his hamstring.

Bhutia, who saw a yellow card in the dying minutes of the game, will miss India’s next match against Vietnam in Pune next month.


India: Subrata Paul; Surkumar Singh, Anwar (N.S. Manju 90+), Gourmangi Singh, Mahesh Gawli; Anthony Pereira, Clifford Miranda, N.P.Pradeep, Mehrajuddin Waddoo (Renedy Singh, 82); Sunil Chettri, Abhishek Yadav (Bhaichung Bhutia, 65th, Mohammed Rafi 90+)

Namibia: Athiel Mbaha; Steven Goagab, Richard Gariseb, Ninja Karongee, Heinrich Isaacks; Roger Katijitjeo, Edward Asino (Eslin Kamuhanga, 68th) Michael Piennar, Alfred Ndyenge (Rudi Louw, 68th) Quinton Jacobs and Jamunovandu Ngatjizeko

Referee: Pratap Singh (India)

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