SAFF Championship | India looks for its first win

Will be up against Sri Lanka even as coach Stimac faces pressure

After the disappointing 1-1 draw against 10-man Bangladesh, India will need to quickly get its act together when it takes on Sri Lanka in its second SAFF Championship football match here on Thursday.

India will look game to register its first win in the tournament, which it won a record seven times.

Head coach Igor Stimac has come under fire for India’s failure to win enough matches in the recent past and he will be under the pump on Thursday.

Fancy it chances

India should fancy its chances against the lower ranked Sri Lankans, who have struggled throughout the competition, losing both of their games so far.

The islanders will have their task cut out if they are to move up from the bottom of the points table.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri will again look to score and add to his tally. Chhetri is just one goal shy of the iconic Pele in terms of international goals scored and a struggling Sri Lanka will be a great opportunity for him.

After the disappointment against plucky Bangladesh, Stimac said, “we are ourselves guilty for not winning the match.

“We had everything in control, we dominated the game, and had a one-nil advantage, and even had a one-man advantage.

“But despite all of that, for some unknown reasons, we started giving away simple passes, making unnecessary mistakes. And if you boost the confidence of your opponent, that’s how it finishes when you give them a chance,” Stimac said.

Last opportunity

The chief coach is using the tournament as the last opportunity for the players to play international matches before the start of the third round of 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in February next year.

The squad: Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes, Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad, Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.

Match starts at 4.30 p.m. IST.

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