Blue Tigers in Must-win Situation

Pre-tournament favourites India are yet to register a win after being held to disappointing draws in their first two match. In their championship opener, they played out a 1-1 draw against 10-man Bangladesh and then Sri Lanka frustrated them and held them to a goalless draw.

So far in the tournament, the Indian men’s football team have not been able to impress and have mostly looked out of their depth. After a couple of disappointing results, midfielder Brandon Fernandes admitted that the mood in the camp was low but that they had to get up, go again and give it their all.

In the pre-match press conference, head coach Igor Stimac said that despite the results so far, “nothing much has changed” and the team was “still alive in the championship. We are still here to win the tournament.”

The two teams had played two back-to-back international friendlies in Kathmandu in the first week of September where India had won the second match 2-1, after having drawn the first.

“We know them very well and have played twice against them. It’s an open game and if we play well, and do it right on the pitch, I am sure that we can win the game. There is no other option for us than to go out there and win it,” Stimac stated.

Nepal are leading the points table at the moment with six points having won both their matches against Maldives and Sri Lanka.

“They may have a different approach. They may calculate while playing against us. But we are not worried about them. We will go out to do our job from the first minute itself,” the coach added.

The Blue Tigers had their practice session on Saturday and the news from the camp is that there are no injury concerns with all 23 players available for selection.

Stimac mentioned about the lack of discipline on the pitch. “We haven’t been disciplined enough on the pitch. For all those simple mistakes, we are currently on two points whereas we should have been on six points now,” he opined.

“We know it will not be easy against Nepal. But we could win against them in Kathmandu, we can do it here too. But I reiterate that for that to happen we need to be committed and disciplined.”

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