India started their SAFF Championship campaign with an underwhelming 1-1 draw against Bangladesh. Sunil Chhetri gave India the lead in the 26th minute when he combined with his Bengaluru FC teammate, Udanta Singh.
The Blue Tigers kept up the momentum and entered the break with a slender lead. The second half also started in their favour as Bishwanath Ghosh was given marching orders after he brought down Liston Colaco through on goal. After going a man down Oscar Bruzon’s men became more determined. They imposed more pressure on the Blue Tigers and the Indians were also very error-prone during that phase of play and therefore Bangladesh created a lot of chances.
But they were rewarded only when Rakib Hossain’s delivery from the corner kick was headed home by youngster Yeasin Arafat. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and both teams shared the spoils.
After the game, India’s head coach Igor Stimac spoke about the issues that the Indian team had during the game. The Crooatian tactician admitted that his team allowed the Bangla Tigers to get back in the game and hence the equaliser came.
“I would like to congratulate both teams because this was the best game of football among these last three games (between India and Bangladesh). We are the only guilty party for the end result. We had everything in control, took a one-goal lead and had one player more than the opponents – and then, for some unknown reasons, we started giving away the ball and making unnecessary mistakes,” he began.
Stimac continued by highlighted mistakes again as he said that the mistakes were the sole reason that they could not finish with a win against Bangladesh. “We were punished today, for not being reasonable in certain situations. We did not use our experience. I expected much more from the team in that sense. We gave the ball away too many times. There was an unnecessary nervousness among players which is difficult to explain. When you don’t feel much pressure, why would you give the ball away? I don’t understand that and we need to work on it,” he explained.
Bangladesh have now earned four points from their first two matches in the SAFF Championships. Whereas Nepal won a tight game against Sri Lanka to go top at the table with two consecutive wins. Favourites India were hot and cold against the Bangla Tigers but they will look to pick up their form in their next match against Sri Lanka.