Minutes after the Blue Tigers secured a point against Afghanistan, thanks to the late equaliser from Seiminlen Doungel in added time, coach Igor Stimac shifted his focus to Muscat where his wards are slated to face-off with Oman at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman on Tuesday, November 19.
“Oman are much better now than the team we played against in Guwahati. We know for a fact that match is going to be very difficult for us. We need to see how quickly we recover after the difficult game that we had just played,” Stimac mentioned after India played a 1-1 draw with Afghanistan at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe.
“We have many new young players coming through and it’ll be difficult to expect great results from them immediately. I have enough players in my disposal and I’m not afraid to put an all-new team against Oman,” Stimac further added.
“Earlier, it was not very common when India used to come back after conceding. In the last two games we came back and snatched points in the dying minutes. It clearly shows that we are not ready to give up until the final whistle,” Stimac commented.
“This is a primary trait of a football team who loves to challenge themselves. We are a team who prefers to push their limits when they’re behind – that makes me proud.”
“Whoever watched the match, must have enjoyed. It was an action-packed exciting match. In the end, neither of us could have been happy with a draw but that’s how it is. I feel we deserved more. We created a few more chances than Afghanistan and so, we deserved at least a point if not three,” the Croatian coach analysed.
Seminlen Doungel, who was introduced in the 77th minute at the expense of Pritam Kotal blasted the back of the net to provide much-needed relief to the Indian dugout. The agile midfielder expressed his “joy and satisfaction” after scoring the equaliser which earned India their consecutive third draw in the campaign.
“A footballer always nurtures a dream of representing his country. I’m no different and then scoring for your country when it was needed, gives me immense joy and satisfaction. But, it’s just the starting of the journey for me, I need to keep my head down and continue the good work as long as possible,” a humble Len spoke.
On being asked about the upcoming Oman match, he stated, “Oman’s football acumen is there for everyone to see. They are a formidable force at home and we have a steep mountain to climb. We have garnered some good results in the past and if we can execute our plans, we can be hopeful.”