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Igor Stimac critical of India's finishing prowess

Igor Stimac

Bengaluru, October 16: After being held 1-1 by minnows Bangladesh in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Zone FIFA World Cup qualifier at home, Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac took at a swipe at the team's inability to convert goal-scoring chances.

India were expected to have it easy against Bangladesh, a team ranked 83 places lower in FIFA in the match held at Kolkata's famed Salt Lake Stadium.

However, a judgmental error from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu saw Bangladesh go 1-0 up in the 42nd minute through a Saad Uddin header.

World Cup Qualifiers: India, Bangladesh play out draw

Chhetri rues missed chances

It was defender Adil Khan who saved India the blushes with his 88th minute header as a defeat at home would have severely dented the country's hopes of advancing to the next round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

No wonder Stimac gave vent to his feelings.

"Our scoring incapability was the reason why we didn't win. We conceded very silly goal. We can't expect to win the game if you concede such a goal. Their goalkeeper was my man-of-the-match," Stimac told reporters in the post-match press conference.

Opening up

Opening up

The Croat said his side "absolutely" changed in the second-half by executing the passes from the sides as the channels started opening up.

"But we were not aggressive enough. Many more things we need to work on," Stimac rued.

Last-gasp header

Last-gasp header

With less than two minutes of regulation time left, it was Adil Khan, who came up with the equaliser, as he glanced his header past the near post, and into the back of the net.

"We deserved to win this game. We pushed until the end and created enough chances to win the game. But our scoring was not good enough," Stimac said.

No blame game

No blame game

In their previous game, India fought valiantly to hold AFC Asian Cup 2019 champions and FIFA 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar to a goalless draw in a match Sandhu made 11 saves. Stimac, however, refused to blame any player.

"Sometimes you've a great day, sometime you make mistakes in making judgment. We aren't here blaming anyone. I defend my players with my heart," he added.

Good memory

Good memory

India played in front of 65,000 fans at the Saltlake Stadium and the Croatian World Cupper said he would remember this forever.

"This was amazing day for indian football, many of them will never forget the ambience, the support they received in Kolkata. I had many big names in my career. I'll remember this as as one of the biggest ones," the 52-year-old said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Story first published: Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 14:45 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 16, 2019
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