Wednesday Feb 21, 2024
Wednesday Feb 21, 2024

India Coach Accepts Draw in Kuwait Clash


Nepalnews
ANI
2023 Jun 27, 10:57, Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]
Igor Stimac (Image: AIFF)

 As India already progressed to the semi-finals of the SAFF Championship, India's head coach Igor Stimac said ahead of their last group match against Kuwait that one draw will not make any difference in their campaign.

"If it's a draw, so be it. We'll still go out to ensure we progress from the semi-finals. We need to look at the tournament as a whole. If it's possible to win every game, it's even better. If not, the final aim is always to win the title," head coach Igor Stimac said.

India will play their last group against Kuwait on Tuesday at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. Currently, Blue Tigers are Group A table-toppers.

Both sides have already advanced to the semifinals and are tied on points (6) and goal differential (+6). As a result, the group's winner will select which team advances to the final four and faces Group B's second-place team. Given that they are behind Kuwait in terms of goals scored, India can only advance with a victory.

"Result-wise, there's not much in it apart from getting a bit easier opponents in the semi-final. We'll approach this game as any other game and try to win it. Keeping a clean sheet is always our first goal," the head coach added.

In the most recent game against Nepal, Stimac served his one-match suspension, but the Blue Tigers made sure he didn't miss a beat and won 2-0. The team that smashed Pakistan on the first day had eight changes, and while India struggled to get going in the first half, they finished the job in the second.

"We made a lot of changes in the last game to make sure we've got everybody fit, ready and motivated. Against Nepal, we didn't execute the first half well as we didn't stick to the plan. We weren't marking tightly and winning aerial duels. We changed a few things, and the second half worked to perfection, I would say. Some phenomenal moves and passing," Stimac said.

At the senior level, India has faced Kuwait three times (one victory, two losses). The previous encounter took place in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi in 2010, and India lost 1-9. The Blue Tigers only triumphed over the West Asians once, a 3-2 friendly victory in Kuwait City in 2004.

According to Stimac, "I think Kuwait's ranking is underestimated. They've had phenomenal performances in the last six months against strong Asian sides. They are a very quality team."

Kuwait has won seven of its last eight games under the direction of Portuguese head coach Rui Bento, including victories over the UAE, Tajikistan, the Philippines, and Zambia. They defeated Pakistan 4-0 before defeating Nepal 3-1 in the SAFF Championship.

"We made several changes to keep our players from getting tired. I have confidence in all of them," said Bento.

"I look for the development of our players in every game. That's most important at the moment for us. More than focussing on India, our focus is on ourselves as we can only control our game, not the opponents'," Bento added. 


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SAFF Championship 2023 India vs Kuwait football AIFF Sree Kanteerava Stadium Igor Stimac UAE Tajikistan The Philippines
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