SAFF Championship: Indians desperate to win
A 1-1 draw against 10-man Bangladesh denting their confidence, India will need to quickly get their act together as when they take on Sri Lanka in their second SAFF Championship match here on Thursday.
The Indians go into Thursday’s game on the back of a disappointing stalemate with Bangladesh, against whom they should have won considering that they dominated majority of the proceedings and even took the lead courtesy a Sunil Chhetri strike. However, that was not to be and India are looking forward to the Sri Lanka game to register their first win in the tournament, which they have won a record seven times.
Head coach Igor Stimac has come under fire for India’s failure to win enough matches in the recent past and he will be under pressure on Thursday.
Despite the draw against Bangladesh, India will start as favourites against the Sri Lankans who have struggled throughout the competition. They have lost both their games so far while conceding four goals and scoring two.
“We have analysed our game against Bangladesh and we are not happy with the final result,” Stimac said at the official pre-match news conference. “We need to do everything possible to win against Sri Lanka. We respect Sri Lanka as a team. I feel they could have two points from the two games they have played so far. But they don’t have any, and that’s football.”
He said his players need to do better defensively and guard against slip-ups in man-marking, which has led to Bangladesh scoring the equaliser. “We need to be better defensively. If we can’t score the second goal, we need to make sure we don’t concede the second goal. Man marking is extremely necessary when you play serious football, and we just cannot keep giving the balls away,” the coach maintained.
He also hinted that he might bring in some changes in the starting XI after having a final look at the condition of the players. “We still have 24 hours to go. We will have a clear picture about the players after we finish the training session. At that time, we will get to know how the players are feeling, how much the legs are loaded,” he said.