BY AYUSH SRIVASTAVA Follow @ayush_sri on twitter
Maldives coach Istvan Urbanyi has had the misfortune of being at the wrong end of results against India in the SAFF Championship in the past.
However, heading into the semi-final against the Blue Tigers, whose form has looked dodgy so far, the Hungarian would not focus on those moments, as he felt they were all in the past.
Speaking to the media before their training session on Sunday, he commented, “We can use the 2011 semi-final and even the 2009 SAFF Championship final as a motivation, but that is history now and so is the group stage. We have scored 18 goals in the group stage and it’s good for confidence, but even that is in the past now. We have to focus on the present and prepare ourselves for India.”
While Indian coach Wim Koevermans has often spoken of playing football that is pleasing to the eye, it is in fact the Red Snappers who have played the most entertaining of football this tournament. Looking forward to a clash of styles in the last four, Urbanyi stated, “We have a different style of football to play, and we have practiced a lot. Compared to India, we are not using a high ball or long ball without reason and we are trying to play good football and it takes time. We have to pick the players who are best for that.”
With Sunil Chhetri ruled out due to a suspension, a light Indian attacking force now looks even more pedestrian. However the Maldives coach feels they are still a force to be reckoned with, and does not agree that they are the weakest side in the semi-final. He mentioned, “I watched all of India’s games they are clearly a strong team. I don’t think scoring late goals twice is about luck. It shows the quality of a team and their ability to keep fighting till the end. Even against Nepal they were stronger but conceded two silly goals.”
“Of course Sunil’s absence makes a difference because he is a very good player. So if India miss him, it’s a loss to them. However we are not focusing on any particular players. India have an organized way of playing and we have to prepare for high balls because they are dangerous in air. India certainly have an advantage in that department,” he further added.
Urbanyi though, hopes to improve on their showing in the 2011 SAFF Championship, by reaching the final this time round.
“Semifinal is a special moment as any team in it wants to be in the final. It’s a repeat of the 2011 semi-final and hope we can improve,” he concluded.
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