The Indian U23 team put on a gritty performance in their 1-0 defeat against hosts, United Arab Emirates in the AFC Asian U23 Qualifiers. The Blue Colts made only one mistake in the entire ninety minutes and had to suffer a defeat.
It was Suresh Singh Wangjam who brought down an Emirati player in the box handing the UAE a last-minute penalty. Left back Abdullah Idrees stepped up and calmly slotted the spot-kick past, Dheeraj Singh.
Igor Stimac was visibly disappointed with the result also claimed that one mistake cost India U23 team a well-deserved point. The Croatian pointed out how the Indians were creating chances and things were in order in the first half. But he credited UAE for stamping their authority in the second half.
“In the first half we handled it well, especially when the legs were still fresh. We also had two great chances in the first half. We played against a very good side, who were deserving winners. In the second half they demonstrated their power,” Stimac said.
He highlighted how his players lost freshness and struggled to get over the line in the second half allowing UAE to come back in the game. he clearly admitted that India U23 did not deserve three points but he feels a draw would have been a fair result.
India started the qualifiers with a superb 2-1 win over Oman while UAE suffered a 1-0 loss to the Kyrgyz Republic. So the hosts were desperate to get back into the reckoning and a win against India just poises things up for the next round of matches. India now need a win against the Kyrgyz Republic and will also hope that things go their way in the other game.
“We play the Kyrgyz Republic in the last game. We need to do our best, find the strength and power and then get out on the pitch and get the points which may surprise all of Asia if the Indian football team qualifies,” Igor Stimac expressed.
Stimac believes that it is going to be tight as teams are different but also similar in what they can do on the pitch. So it will be interesting to see if the Blue Colts manages to qualify for the main tournament.