Indian football team's coach Igor Stimac feels the side "has a lot to prove and many points to improve on". And the coach is 100 percent right here. India, playing Nepal, a side 63 places below in the FIFA rankings, returned home with a narrow win and a draw in the two-match friendly series. It was a disappointing outing in Kathmandu not just going by results, but also on how the players went about their business.
Stimac, though, praised his wards despite their below par performance.
After a 1-1 draw in the first friendly, India notched up 2-1 win in the second game against Nepal on Sunday, thanks to second-half strikes by Farukh Choudhary and skipper Sunil Chhetri.
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"We need to congratulate the players on their attitude and their willingness to go and win the game," Stimac said at the post-match press conference.
"I especially need to appreciate my players because they were much more patient, waiting for the first goal, to open up the Nepali defence, and as you know, when that happens, everything is much easier.
"But I think India still has a lot to prove and many points to improve on,” he added.
Of course, coming back and playing all out to win have to be appreciated here. But then, there should not have been a comeback. India made heavy weather of the matches, and the blame squarely falls on the lack of application on the pitch, while Stimac’s gameplan, despite the long stint, is still not on terra firma. It seems the coach is in a perpetual experimental mode.
The Croatian felt that both sides put up better performances in the second match.
"I think it was a good game of football that all the fans could enjoy. This second game was much better than the previous one.
"After we scored the first goal, we started rising with confidence and playing as we need to play. I think overall India were the better of the two sides over the two games, and deservedly are going forward with a win," he quipped.
(With additions from PTI)
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