Stimac effusive in praise of Indian players after win against Nepal

Image Credit: AIFF

India national coach Igor Stimac was satisfied with his players’ performance in the second friendly against Nepal at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Sunday evening. Farukh Choudhary and Sunil Chhetri scored in the second half to guide India to a 2-1 win. Nepal, who dominated the first half hands down, pulled one back three minutes from time through Tej Tamang.

“I think it was a good game of football that all the fans could enjoy. This second game was much better than the previous one,” Stimac said after the match, hours before turning 54.

“We need to congratulate the players on their attitude and their willingness to go and win the game. I especially need to appreciate my players because they were much more patient, waiting for the first goal, to open up the Nepali defence, and as you know, when that happens, everything is much easier,” he added.

Stimac also stressed the importance of scoring first in a contest. Choudhary was set up by Chhetri in the 62nd minute and he beat the Nepalese goalkeeper comfortably. Eighteen minutes later, Anirudh Thapa headed the ball in the path of the Indian skipper who ran like a sprinter from around the half-way line before slotting the ball into the right bottom corner. 

“After we scored the first goal, we started rising with confidence and playing as we need to play. I think overall India were the better of the two sides over the two games, and deservedly are going forward with a win,” he said.

When all is said and done, Nepal turned out to be a really tough opposition. India would have expected to steamroll them but they stood up to the Blue Tigers with great character. In fact, with a little bit of luck, they could have won the first friendly – that eventually ended in a 1-1 draw. Stimac acknowledged the quality Abdullah Almutairi’s men showed over the two friendlies.

“Nepal played well, they improved a lot. I can see how much it means to the team when it has two months of preparation. But I think India still has a lot to prove and many points to improve on,” the Croatian said.

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