Another day to go for the Blue Tigers‘ second match as India gear up to face Sri Lanka. The medical staff have been extremely busy tending to tight muscles. The technical staff was occupied with studying the last match against Bangladesh, dissecting and planning for the tie against Sri Lanka.
The players have been quiet since the 1-1 draw to a 10-man Bangladesh. In international matches, fortunes turn very quickly and our boys learnt it the hard way.
Keeping their head up, Stimac said, “We need to look forward. There are three matches left in the group stage. We were punished in the last match, and we need to improve.”
There is a lot left to play for in the tournament. However, the five-team format indicates that each match is a must-win for India to secure a smooth route to the final.
Needless to mention, there will be mathematical calculations as every team progresses. India’s opponents Sri Lanka have not yet won a game – losing to both Nepal and Bangladesh.
India to face tough physical test against Sri Lanka
In the official pre-match press conference, Stimac said: “It’s about patience, it’s about attitude, and it’s about the approach.”
The coach hinted at a few changes in the starting XI after having a final look at the players’ condition. He went on to say, “We still have 24 hours to go. We will have a clear picture of the players in the evening after we finish the training session. At that time, we will get to know how the players are feeling, how much the legs are loaded,”.
Stimac has made no displeasure about the final result against Bangladesh. “We have analysed our game against Bangladesh and we are not happy with the final result. We are two points from what we have to have in our kitty. So we need to do everything possible to win against Sri Lanka. We respect Sri Lanka as a team. I feel they could have two points from the two games they played. But they don’t have any, and that’s football,” he asserts.
The coach wants his team to be solid defensively. He wants them to defend a single goal advantage if cannot get a second rather than concede. Stimac talked about man-marking being extremely necessary and keeping hold of the ball to maintain possession.
Tie vs Sri Lanka will be more of a mind game
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu felt the most appropriate task at hand was “to minimise the mistakes.”
“It’s not so easy when we come here. Playing at 4 pm isn’t easy. Most of us have been here before with our respective clubs. We were here for almost two weeks, and are used to the conditions. It isn’t unfamiliar.”
“We know that we can’t commit mistakes. That’s the most important aspect, and we need to make sure that we use everything to our advantage. We need to go out and do our job – which is to win.”
Referring to the physical play Sri Lankan players utilize, Stimac added: “They play whatever they can to stop the opponent from approaching the final third. That’s allowed in football. In fact, all the teams here have the ability to fight. They are not giving up and that’s what Sri Lanka have been doing well – fighting till the final whistle.”
The coach hopes his team will find a way to breach their defence with quick passing and precise movement. He wants his team to be “clever and patient” against them.
Central-half Chinglensana Singh sums it up, “We need to play to our strengths, and do our duties to the best of our abilities which will get us the desired result.”
India’s tie against Sri Lanka will begin at IST 4.30 pm, October 7. Eurosport will telecast the match live.
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