Having begun their title defence with a lacklustre performance,India would look to make amends and stamp their authority when they square off against Bangladesh in their second group league match in the SAFF Football Championships here on Tuesday.
It was a disappointing show by the Indians in their campaign opener as they allowed Pakistan to dominate for major part of the match and needed an own goal from the rival skipper to come out unscathed.
Coach Wim Koevermas had minced no words in the post-match press conference,saying that he was not happy with the performance of his men and his side were lucky to have won the game.
India (ranked 145th) though would start as favourites in Tuesday’s Group A match against Bangladesh,who are 13 places below at 158th. In the 22 meetings between the two teams,India have won 11 times while Bangaldesh have won thrice and eight games were drawn.
The last time the two sides met in the 2007 Nehru Cup at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi,India won 1-0 with former captain Bhaichung Bhutia scoring the lone goal. India will need to make amends to keep their title defence on track. A win tomorrow will virtually put India through to the semi-finals.
No room for slip-up
Koevermans said that the team knows that it cannot afford a slip-up. It’s our second ‘final’ as we are here to play five ‘finals ‘ and defend our title. Bangladesh saw us play and will plan for us. They will come hard at us, Koevermans said on the eve of the match.
Captain Sunil Chhetri,who is just three goals shy of becoming India’s highest-ever goal scorer,missed three chances against Pakistan will all his strikes missing the target.
For Bangladesh,it’s a do-or-die match as a defeat would put them out of reckoning for a place in the last four,having lost to hosts Nepal 0-2 in their campaign opener.