India and Thailand will face each other for the very first time in the Asian Cup when the two teams get their campaign underway at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi tonight.
While India are ranked several rungs higher than Thailand in the FIFA rankings, it is the War Elephants who start as favourites.
With the return of star players including Chanathip Songkrasin, Theerathon Bunmathan and captain Teerasil Dangda, Milovan Rajevac’s side will have a point to prove after their shock semifinal exit in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.
The War Elephants suffered a major blow ahead of the start of the tournament, with first-choice keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan failing to recover from his injury which means underfire keeper Chatchai Budprom will need to step up after a few miserable showings in the Suzuki Cup.
For India, meanwhile, the onus will be on skipper Sunil Chhetri to carry his side yet again. Misfiring striker Jeje Lalpekhlua is expected to feature despite having failed to score since June.
Gurpreet Sandhu will play a key role in goal for the Blue Tigers and is expected to be a busy man on the night.
On that note, here’s a look at how both sides could line up for the clash:
Goalkeeper: Chatchai Budprom
Defenders: Theerathon Bunmathan, Pansa Hemviboon, Chalermpong Kerdkaew, Tristan Do
Midfielders: Thitipan Puangchan, Tanaboon Kesarat, Chanathip Songkrasin
Forwards: Sanrawat Dechmitr, Adisak Kraisorn, Teerasil Dangda
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose
Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Halicharan Narzary, Pronay Halder
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua