Mumbai: Having sealed a final berth, India coach Stephen Constantine may be tempted to test few more young legs in the last league game of the Intercontinental Cup against New Zealand here on Thursday.
Constantine fielded an experienced side in the first two games though also handing out a couple of debuts. The likes of Subhasish Bose, Ashique Kuruniyan debuted in the first match itself against Chinese Taipei in 5-0 rout. Against Kenya the Englishman didn't try out new blood in the 3-0 win but keeping the AFC Asian Cup in mind, he may rest senior players for whom it was physically draining in the rain-marred game.
New Zealand on the other hand scraped past Chinese Taipei 1-0 after losing to Kenya 1-2 in a hard fought game. They need a win to increase their qualification hopes.
India haven't lost at the venue and have scored eight goals against none conceded in this tournament so far. Sunil Chhetri alone who played his 100th international match on Monday has scored five times.
The game will also be special for striker Jeje Lalpekhlua as it will be his 50th match in national colours.
“I congratulate Jeje. Bhai (Chhetri) also played his 100th game. He made us understand before the game to play as a unit and win. I had made up my mind before the tournament to go home after playing in the final. I didn't know Chhetri was playing his 100th game. I came to know in the middle of the tournament and we thought of gifting him the win (against Kenya). Now we will take it one match at a time and aim to win the Cup,” winger Halicharan Narzary said.
But the All Whites coach Fritz Schmid admitted it would be big challenge against the hosts. “We saw India in the first two games and it will be a big challenge,” Schmid said who has come here with a young side....