The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 20 , 2014
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Indians stay confident

New Delhi: Wim Koevermans’s boys will have yet another opportunity to sharpen their skills before the Asian Games when they meet Pakistan in the second and final friendly tie, at the Bangalore football stadium, on Wednesday.

While the organisers are confident of having a full house again, the fans would definitely hope to watch an improved performance from the Sunil Chetri-led home side.

On Sunday, India won 1-0 thanks to a Chetri strike, but to say their display was impressive would be an exaggeration. Having practiced together for nearly a month, the under-23 Indian side were expected to fare better.

But then, it’s a young side with several newcomers. That they managed to hold on against an aggressive Pakistan attack for most of the second half with 10 men was a creditable show.

Pity that an experienced player like Robin Singh acted in an irresponsible manner to invite the second booking at a crucial time. As is the rule, he is out for the Wednesday’s match.

Koevermans made it a point to emphasise on his team’s lack of experience. “I came to know later that there were six players who made their debut for India in the last match. It was such a proud moment for them,” the Dutch coach said.

“I expect Pakistan to be competitive once again. And, hopefully, we get to play with 11 men for the full 90 minutes. We aim to carry on the momentum and expect a good match,” the coach said.

Pakistan, on the other hand, would definitely look forward to even the score. Pakistan coach Mohammed Shamlan Al-Mubarak has already announced that his team is confident of beating India.

“After the first match, we now have more idea about India and how they play. We feel we can script a positive result in the second match,” said the Pak coach. His boys could have managed to draw level last Sunday had they not missed some easy chances.

On Tuesday, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was bit embarrassed when the local police asked the organisers some questions about the assistant manager of the Pakistan team, Ashgar Khan.

“There were some technical issues with Mr. Khan’s visa. The problems were sorted out later,” said an AIFF official.