'India played good football for 75 minutes' - Igor Stimac on Bangladesh draw in the SAFF Championship opener
India played out a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh in their SAFF Championship 2021 opener on Monday, despite taking the lead courtesy a Sunil Chhetri strike in the first half.
The Bangla Tigers were reduced to 10 men in the second after Bishwanath Ghosh was sent off due to a challenge on Liston Colaco. But even after going a man down, Oscar Bruzon's side came back into the game in the 74th minute when Yeasin Arafat found the back of the net.
India head coach Igor Stimac was understandably disappointed with the result as he stated that India could not capitalise on their experience and finish off the game despite being the better side for the majority of the match.
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What did Igor Stimac say?
I would like to congratulate both teams. I think, till now, this was the best game of football out of the three matches that have been played (in SAFF Championship 2021). We are the guilty party for not winning this one. We had everything in control, we dominated the game, we had the lead and we had one extra player on the pitch and then for some unknown reasons, we started giving away simple passes, making unnecessary mistakes.
"When you boost the confidence of the opponents and you give them the chance, they will take it. So we were punished today for not being reasonable in certain situations. We did not use our experience, because this was an experienced Indian side. I expected much more in that sense.
"Nonetheless, it was a good game of football. Congratulations to Bangladesh, they came back and scored. We have to look forward now. We don't have much time," stated the Croatian coach.
Stimac further suggested that his team were collectively good for 75 minutes in the match but lost focus in the remaining 15 minutes in various patches during the game which eventually cost them the win.
"We have another three games, we need to play well. I need to say that our boys played good football for more than 75 minutes. They played progressive football, they were passing well, coming to dangerous positions. But 15 minutes, it is too much of a time to not being organised, giving away too many balls and making too many mistakes. So we need to work on that and we will be okay," the India head coach opined.
When are India playing next at the SAFF Championship 2021?
The Blue Tigers are next up against Sri Lanka on October 7 followed by facing Nepal on October 10 and then facing hosts Maldives on October 13.