Asian Cup Qualifiers: Stimac says India ‘played like Blue Tigers’; Chhetri completes 17 years in international football

India pipped Afghanistan 2-1 in a dramatic AFC Asian Cup qualifier clash at Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Kreerangan in Kolkata on Saturday. Sunil Chhetri pulled one back within three minutes from a Zubair Amiri header for Afghanistan with a curling free-kick in the 85th minute. Sahal Abdul Samad, however, manipulated in extra time after the end of regulation time to give the Blue Tigers a crucial win.

The head coach of the Indian men’s football team, Igor Stimac, was pleased with the result and said that the team proved why they are called the Blue Tigers.

“I will enjoy with my boys because of these two victories. I want to qualify for the Asian Cup final. I am proud of my boys, they did everything we asked them to do and we respect them. fought and deserved to win,” Stimac said in a post-match press conference.

“We are called Blue Tigers. Today we played like Blue Tigers. We need to be Tiger on the pitch. We are going this way. Going out, enjoying football and fighting for our country with pride and honor,” he said.

Chhetri, who scored his 83rd goal for the national team, credited the team for his return by snatching the victory.

After the game, Chhetri said, “He thought after the draw that we would have to split the points.”

“But this team. Udanta (Singh), Brandon (Fernandes), Aashiq (Kurunian), Sahal (Abdul Samad) complete move,” he said.

After the game, Stimac had nothing but praise for the young players and reiterated his call to trust the process.

“Over the years, I’ve been getting tired of having to explain to everyone that good football doesn’t come overnight. It is a process which will take time. We have youth who can make us proud but we must be patient. What we need to do is make the process of getting things done in football is a long process,” he said.

“Football Knowledge” India is so low. You can’t criticize points you don’t understand. I just ask for patience from the fans, nothing more.”

After the match, Sahal credited the team and fans for his goal and said he wanted to come forward and ‘do something’.

“Very excited, happy as it is in front of the fans. This win is for the team, for all the players for their 90 minutes of effort,” Sahal said.

“I wanted to do something on the field, even if it was for two minutes or five,” he said.

Stimac also revealed that he wanted Sahl to be more dominant in the game, even if only for a minute.

“I told Sahal before the SAFF Cup final that sometimes a minute on the pitch can do better than 1,000 for you. It depends on how you organize your time. I told him to score if he gets a chance late in the game like today. I need Sahal to rationalize my steps. He has so much quality, he can run, he can sprint, but 50% of them are not effective,” Stimac revealed after the game.

When asked about Chhetri’s reaction to his goal and how he ran towards the corner flag after Sahal’s winner, he said: “I’m really for Sahal and really for the way we scored. was happy I was a little angry and Maniwar and I accepted our mistake. He knows it and I know it. My GPS would say the biggest sprint I ever made was for it.

Chhetri completed 17 years in international football on Sunday and the Indian talisman once again proved what a huge asset he is to the sport in India.

“Feels great at the moment. I am glad that I celebrate 17 years in Indian football. Not all milestones are that bid for me, but I am honored and privileged,” he said.

After two matches in Group D, India are tied with Hong Kong on 6 points and will face off for a straight spot in the final on 14 June.

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