Indian football head coach Igor Stimac on Tuesday (October 15) rued his players’ inability to score goals as his side settled for a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh in their World Cup qualifying round match here.
India missed their star defender Sandesh Jhingan sorely as a judgmental error from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu saw Bangladesh go 1-0 up in the 42nd minute through a Saad Uddin header.
It was defendfer Adil Khan who saved India the blushes with his 88th minute header on a day inspirational skipper Sunil Chhetri was not at his best.
“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 media interaction.
“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.
“I’m not happy with first 45 minutes. Our players in the back were not passing well. When you play against a team like Bangladesh who put more in defence you need to pass well from behind,” the Croatian said.
Stimac 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.”
India thus failed to notch a win against a team who are 83 places below them to settle for a successive draw.
In their previous game, India fought valiantly to hold Asian champions Qatar to a goalless draw in a match Gurpeet Singh Sandhu made 11 saves.
Stimac, however, refused to blame any player.
“Sometimes you have a great day, sometime you have mistakes in making judgment. We are not here blaming anyone. I defend my players with my heart.
“Today we dominated for 90 minutes and proved we can change our game in regard to opponents. This team is rising up.”
India played in front of 65,000 fans at the Saltlake Stadium and the Croatian World Cup 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 will remember this as as one of the biggest ones,” the 52-year-old said.
“It was a very exciting match. All the people who came could enjoy the beauty of football.