Captain Sunil Chhetri expressed disappointment over India’s 1-1 draw against Bangladesh, believing the team couldn’t make the most of its chances during its outing in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium. Saad Uddin had put Bangladesh in front in the first half, but India centre-back Adil Khan equalised late in the game to draw the home side level.
The atmosphere at the venue was buzzing and Chhetri pointed out how India’s performance was “no match” to the enthusiasm of the crowd – nearly 65000 – that’d turned out to support the home team.
“We couldn’t deliver a performance to match the atmosphere at the Salt Lake last night, and the dressing room is very disappointed about it,” Chhetri tweeted. “We couldn’t capitalise on the chances we got, but this is a process on the pitch and in the stands. You turned up, we’ll keep attempting to.”
Both teams ended the day with a point apiece, as India remain on the fourth spot in Group E of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Joint Qualifiers. Coach Igor Stimac rued India’s performance, especially in the first 45 minutes, where he felt his players were caught napping.
“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. But we were not aggressive enough. Many more things we need to work on.”
India came out with more conviction in the second half, but Bangladesh kept trying their luck on the break, as Ziban broke free, but Gurpreet rushed out of his line to make a last-ditch save. Stimac rolled the dice in the second half, bringing on playmaker Brandon Fernandes in place of Mandar Rao Dessai, while winger Lallianzuala Chhangte came on for centre-back Anas Edathodika.
“Sometimes you have a great day, sometimes you make mistakes in making a 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,” the coach added.