All eyes on Chhetri against Kenya as India vie for finals
Mumbai: Sunil Chhetri will be the cynosure of all eyes as he seeks to make his 100th international memorable by continuing his scoring spree in the Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya here on Monday.
With 59 goals to his credit, the talismanic striker is India's all-time leading scorer.
Another win at the Mumbai Football Arena will ensure the home team's passage to the final of the tournament, which is being used as preparation for next year's Asian Cup.
The 97th ranked side is on a high having drubbed Chinese Taipei 5-0 in the tournament opener.
Chhetri was in imperious form, scoring his third hat-trick in international football, and he would look to continue in the same manner against the physical stronger African team, which likes to attack.
Chhetri and his strike partner Jeje Lalpekhua have shown in the past that if they get going, any defence can be breached.
India coach Stephen Constantine has an option upfront in Balwant Singh and, depending on the situation of the match, he can be considered.
If the Chhetri-led Indian forward line is able to strike at will again, then the Kenyans will have have some tough time at the back.
India have an array of attacking midfielders like Udanta Singh, Anirudh Thapa and Pranoy Halder, who clicked in the last game.
Udanta and Pranoy scored against Chinese Taipei and they will certainly start on Monday.
India has an equally strong defence with the experienced Sandesh Jhinghan and Pritam Kotal manning the backline. Add to it the likes of Narayan Das and Subhashis Bose, and the line-up looks solid.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is the best in the business and his role will be crucial after a game in which his service was rarely required.
Constantine was pleased after his side put up a dominant show in the last game but had warned that they should not get carried away.
India are ranked much higher and are used to the conditions here.
Kenya, on the other hand, would look to spoil Chhetri's party.
Their coach Sebastian Minge had described India as a quality side.
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Lalruatthara, Narayan Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Subhasish Bose
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Rowllin Borges, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Md. Rafique, Halicharan Narzary, Laldanmawia Ralte
FORWARDS: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Alen Deory.
Match starts at 8 PM.