Weakened India take on Azerbaijan in friendly tomorrow

A weakened Indian national football team take on Azerbaijan in the first-ever international friendly match between the two sides at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai at 17.30 local time (19.00 IST).

India coach Savio Medeira hasn't decided on his starting eleven for tomorrow with some players still carrying some niggles here and there with Savio saying, "The intention stays to try as many players as possible," which has earned Savio a lot of criticism back home from the media and fans then after winning the 2011 SAFF Cup in December and the good second half performance against FC Bayern Munich in January 2012, the expectations back home have risen.

Against Oman the new look Team India did look out of sorts for a great part of the match as they suffered a 1-5 defeat. Speaking about it Savio said, "This is what football is all about. We need to be patient. The new boys will settle down," only to repeat, "But we need to be patient."

Azerbaijan are ranked 109th in the FIFA world rankings against the 95th rank of Oman, but they play their qualifiers in the much tougher Europe so their ranking might have little to say. This is India's last qualifier before the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup next month in Nepal and ideally Savio would play his starting eleven for the upcoming tournament in this match. But with certain players still unfit an experimental Indian side is once more to take the field with hopefully some more experience in there through players like Syed Rahim Nabi and Rocus Lamare on the field.

Azerbaijan are currently in Dubai like India for a training camp preparating for their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers later in the year. They played Singapore on Friday and were held to a late two-all draw by the Southeast Asian nation, while they play India tomorrow and then Palestine on Wednesday.

Speaking about Azerbaijan Savio said, "They are a strong side and we know they will come hard at us."

Azerbaijan are coached by seasoned German Berti Vogts, who with Germany won the 1996 European Championships; and thereafter went on to coach Bayer 04 Leverkusen and then the national sides of Kuwait, Scotland and Nigeria before taking over Azerbaijan in April 2008.

There will be no live telecast on Television from the match, but those interested can watch the game live on www.affatv.az (the official website of the Azerbaijan FF).

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