Hangzhou [China], September 22 (ANI): India head coach Igor Stimac has already put India’s victory over Bangladesh in his memory bank and is focusing on the game ahead.
Less than 24 hours ago, India chalked out a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bangladesh in the crucial Group A tie of Asian Games football in Hangzhou, China, raising hopes of the Blue Tigers’ entry in the second round after 13 years.
Stimac remains deeply engrossed in planning his strategy for India’s next match against Myanmar, to be played on Sunday, September 24, 2023.
“I am now thinking about the Myanmar match and we need to make sure we qualify,” Stimac told the-aiff.com from Hangzhou.
“Whether it is a draw or a win, we must qualify. At the same time, I must say that when we hit the pitch, we do it to win,” he added.
Currently, India is placed second in Group A behind China, who have six points. Both India and Myanmar have three points from two matches each, but India are ahead because they scored more goals than Myanmar. Even a draw against Myanmar would suffice for Sunil Chhetri and his men to advance to the second round as the second team from this group.
Stimac was hardly surprised by his team’s victory against Bangladesh. Rather, he feels surprised that some people are surprised by India’s comeback win after the 1-5 defeat against hosts China.
“We went to the match with a positive mindset. We were confident about what we could do and what we should do to win. It happened like that,” he said.
Asked whether the various difficulties the squad faced while going to the Asian Games had any effect on the team, Stimac said, “I never speak about the difficulties we faced before coming here. I always keep the players away from the heat and do not allow them to get influenced by the circumstances. I guide the players in a way that gets us results. I did exactly that here.”
“The players were patient, confident and they followed the instructions. We planned how to reach the attacking third and then put the pressure on. We played with three centre-backs in a 3-4-1-2 formation,” the coach said.
Stimac said that despite all the problems, India was confident about winning against Bangladesh. India’s neighbours have definitely come to Hangzhou after extensive training, but their game style and defensive tactics have not changed much. The Indians were aware of the way they could handle Bangladesh attacks.
“There was no magic involved in it. We won because of the technical points. I gave the boys a clear plan and they followed the guidelines,” was Stimac’s simple analysis of the game. (ANI)
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