India will play Puerto Rico for the first time in an International Football friendly on Saturday, September 3, at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai. India is scheduled to play in the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers in March next year and Saturday’s match is seen as the first step towards preparation for the continental event. The match is scheduled to start at 8 pm IST.
“We are very motivated to play against a side ranked 114. If you want to go higher it’s important that you play against stronger sides,” said British coach Stephen Constantine before the game. “I would rather lose 4-0 to Iran than win 3-0 against a weaker nation.
“There will be no change to our approach. We will play the same manner we played against Iran. We will play attacking football.”
Although India are ranked 38 places below Puerto Rico, they are expected to have an upper hand as the visitors are under-prepared for the match. Just four days before the match, Puerto lost 1-0 to Dominican Republic. Still, the players seem confident playing on the foreign soil.
“For us, it is about taking our game to new territories,” said Ignacio Rodriguez, the general secretary of the Puerto Rico football federation, to Goal.
“We heard from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) about two and a half months ago and the boys were up for the challenge, even though some of them have had to adjust their league schedule according to it. Playing in India? Who would have thought! We are looking at it as an exciting challenge.”
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India: Subrata Paul, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (C), Amrinder Singh, Rino Anto, Sandesh Jhingan, Arnab Mondal, Keegan Pereira, Chinglensana Konsham Singh, Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das, Fulganco Cardozo, Vinit Rai, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Pronay Halder, Jackichand Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Bikash Jairu, Rowllin Borges, Alwyn George, Germanpreet Singh, Mohammed Rafique, Seityasen Singh, Arjun Tudu, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sumeet Passi, Halicharan Narzary, Daniel Lalhimpuia.
Puerto Rico: Christofer Alexander Echevarria Del Valle, Johnny Santana Ramirez, Joan Sebastian Morales Feliciano, Juan Gabriel Velez Lago, Emmanuel Alejandro D’Andrea Yepez, Juan Antonio Agustin Coca Nogueras, Marcos Junior Martinez Amaro, Elliot M Velez Lago, Andres Nicolas Cabrero Gomez, Emanuel Miguel Benedetto Sanchez, Micheal Anthony Ramon Ramos, Javier Orlando Lalondriz Fernandez, Alexis Rivera Curet, Jacob Rafael Conde, Karlos Francisco Ferrer Mojica, Jose A Martinez.