Brandon: The defeat against Qatar is history, focus now on the Bangladesh tie

India midfielder Brandon Fernandes believes that the team has moved on from their 1-0 defeat against Qatar in their 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifier in Doha on Thursday night.

India now play Bangladesh on Monday at the same venue, the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha. The Blue Tigers -- currently fourth in Group E with three points from six games – need to finish third to directly qualify for the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, having already been out of contention for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.  

Brandon, who didn’t feature in the defeat against the Asian champions brought on by an Abdelaziz Hatem strike in the first half, insists the loss is history and that the Blue Tigers are now looking ahead to their next game against Bangladesh.

“We are moving as a team and we need to back each other. We are aware that we have specific roles in the team. The next match is extremely crucial as we need to sustain the momentum gained in the first match. The first match is history,” the AIFF Media Team quoted the FC Goa star as saying.

Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan star Subhasish Bose, who played from start to finish and did a very good job for India at the back against Qatar, says that the team under Igor Stimac is not taking the Bangladeshis lightly, especially in light of how they last performed against them in October 2019 -- in what was a 1-1 draw. The hosts, playing at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, needed an 88th-minute goal from Adil Khan to avoid what could have been an extremely embarrassing defeat.

“We are aware of the quality of the Bangladesh team. They are a side that plays a lot of counter-attacking football, and that is very dangerous. India versus Bangladesh have always been exciting and close matches. We have huge respect for Bangladesh.”

Jamie Day, head coach of Bangladesh, reciprocates Bose’s sentiments. “India are a very good team. They are a much higher-ranked team than us who should be beating the likes of Bangladesh. The difference in ranking and quality is huge. In Kolkata, we did play very well. I look back and feel that India had an off-day on that night,” he says.

“You look at India’s last match against Qatar – with 10-men [after Rahul Bheke’s red card in the 17th minute] they fought like warriors and lost 0-1. It only depicts the quality in their side. We are looking forward to the game. We are aware that we need to play to our maximum, and hope India have another off-day,” he adds.


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