Bhutia not to play against Bahrain, Houghton to make changes

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Doha, Jan 12 (PTI) Talismanic captain Bhaichung Bhutiawill sit out of India''s second Asian Cup match against Bahrainas he is yet to be fully fit and coach Bob Houghton will alsorest some players who played in the opener against Australia.

Houghton said Bhutia, who also missed out of the openingmatch against Australia, may play in India''s third and finalGroup C game against South Korea on January 18.

"There is no chance of Bhaichung playing against Bahrain.

He may play in the match against South Korea," Houghton said.

Bhutia did not take part in the training session at theAl Wakra facilities at the outskirts of the city today whilehis team-mates had a one-hour work-out.

Houghton said he would rest some players who playedagainst Australia so that they are not tired for the thirdgroup match against South Korea.

"It is difficult for almost the same set of boys to playin three matches. So we are giving rest to some boys andmaking changes. If the same boys who played against Australiaare fielded against Bahrain, you will not get fresh legs forthe South Korea match," he said.

"I saw the video (of first match) and the players ranabout 10 to 11 km, which is about thrice the distance theplayers run in an I-League match. It''s an awful lot of runningand it takes a toll. If you see the injuries we have had, mostof them have been muscle which is primarily down to theintensity of the training," he said.

The 63-year-old Englishman said he and the players havewatched video footage of the matches Bahrain played recently,including their 1-2 loss against Japan in the ongoing AsianCup and the Gulf side would be tough customers.

"I watched Bahrain against UAE and Syria in the build-upto the Asian Cup. They have a few African boys which meansthey are tough and a physical side though they were dominatedby Japan in their opening Asian Cup match. It will be a toughmatch as Bahrain could not make it to the FIFA World Cup inplay-off," he said.

Asked about goalkeeper Subrata Paul producing yet anothergood performance under the bar in the match against Australia,Houghton said, Subrata will get to play outside the country.

"He had gone for trials but the question is really aboutthe size. Most of the goalkeepers in the international arenaare really big."

He said the match against Australia was the toughest forhis side after he took charge in 2006 and reiterated that thefirst goal was off-side.

"It was not just off-side of one player. Two wereoff-side. Brett Emerton was off-side before he sent the crossand Tim Cahill, who scored the goal, was also off-side,"Houghton said.

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