An impressive Indian football team bounced back from back-to-back defeats as they blanked higher-ranked Namibia 2-0 in their third international football friendly match of the month here today.
Having lost to Thailand in their earlier two matches on September 4 and 8 in Bangkok and here respectively, India came
up with a much improved show to beat their opponents ranked 44 places above them in the FIFA chart at the Ambedkar Stadium.
Ironically, the win came on a day when India dropped 22 places in the FIFA chart to 160th, one of the worst in the
Mehrajuddin Wadoo put India in the lead in the 28th minute when his shot landed into the Namibian goal after deflecting from a defender while Anthony Pereira doubled the lead in the 54th minute with a gem of a goal with his curling free-kick from 30 yards finding the back of the net.
The win would boost the morale of Bob Houghton's boys in their preparation for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup as they are set to play more matches against higher ranked sides in the coming months.
India were clearly the better side today with more cohesion and solidity in the defence while the midfield and forward line looked much sharper inside the opposition box.
India also did well in set pieces with tall striker and captain Abhishek Yadav making problems for the opposition on a
few occasions. The Namibians, who had come here without at least a dozen of their foreign -- mostly Europe -- based players as today was not a FIFA match day, lacked the sharpness though their coach Tom Saintfiet had said that they have not played for four months as their premier league has remained dormant.
It was difficult to differentiate between the two sides in the first half with both making some fine attacking moves
though the goal-bound shots were far and between. India, which made three changes in the starting line up of their last match against Thailand on September 8 here, seemed to have started picking up the form after playing two international friendly matches as they built up attacking moves with neat passes against their physically fitter opponents.
They were also helped by the surface which was much better than their last game as it was not raining today. The back four of Surkumar Singh, Gouramangi Singh, Anwar Ali and Mahesh Gawli were impressive and they kept the attempts of their faster rivals at check. Surkumar was impressive at the right flank making his usual overlapping runs and sudden acceleration into the center of the park.