After an agonising defeat on penalties to Iraq, the Indian senior males’s group is about to face Lebanon within the forty ninth King’s Cup third-place play-off on Sunday. The competition, which would be the Blue Tigers’ fourth in three months in opposition to the West Asians, will kick off on the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai, Thailand. India didn’t concede a aim within the three conferences in opposition to Lebanon. A 0-0 draw within the Intercontinental Cup was adopted by a medical 2-0 win within the ultimate in Bhubaneswar.
The 2 sides met once more within the SAFF Championship semifinals, the place Igor Stimac’s aspect got here out on high on penalties after 120 goalless minutes.
Within the pre-match press convention, Stimac admitted that each groups know one another out and in, and one other thrilling encounter can be on the playing cards on Sunday.
“It is now a daily competitors between India and Lebanon. The fourth match in three months. We all know one another very properly. There isn’t a secret,” Stimac stated.
“So for us coaches, it is a a lot simpler job. No must analyse the opponents an excessive amount of. So it is nearly concentrating and specializing in our personal sport, our gamers, and learn how to be efficient on the pitch in 90 minutes,” India’s coach stated.
Lebanon head coach and Stimac’s former membership teammate and good buddy Aleksandar Ilic acknowledged likewise. His aspect can be itching for payback in opposition to the Blue Tigers, who bought the higher of them in each summer time tournaments in India.
“It has began to turn out to be a wierd competitors between the 2 groups. We have already performed numerous video games up to now. It is going to be one open sport and, in fact, each groups will attempt their greatest to succeed,” stated Ilic.
Lebanon have been crushed 1-2 by hosts Thailand within the second semi-finals of the King’s Cup on Thursday. Trailing by a Jihad Ayoub personal aim at half-time, Bassel Jrade levelled issues up for the Cedars quickly after the break, however Teerasil Dangda’s header 5 minutes from time stole the win for the hosts.
An analogous late drama unfolded in India’s semi-final defeat as Aymen Hussein’s equalising spot-kick took the sport into penalties, the place Iraq struck all 5 to clinch their berth within the ultimate.
Stimac thought his boys, who took the lead twice and defended valiantly, deserved extra from the match. However the Blue Tigers have put that tough loss up to now and are totally centered on successful the bronze medal, as they did in 2019 in Stimac’s debut event.
“I used to be very proud of our boys’ efforts and efficiency in opposition to a a lot higher-ranked aspect like Iraq. We had a very good combat. We have been within the lead twice. You possibly can clearly see that Iraq had extra high quality of their group, however ultimately, we deserved extra out of the sport. Though we’ve fewer probabilities, we are able to nonetheless rating and get probably the most out of the sport,” stated Stimac.
Lebanon coach Ilic additionally shared his ideas on India’s strengths. “I believe the Indian group is trying very robust. They’re rising up. If we evaluate the previous to the current, it is utterly totally different. They’d a improbable sport in opposition to Iraq. For positive, they have to be revered hundred per cent,” stated Ilic.
Whereas the Serbian spoke about strain, Stimac revealed he did not need his gamers to take any and play their hearts out.
“We will count on an open sport. I am simply asking my gamers to be artistic on the pitch and luxuriate in and have fun soccer once they come out on the pitch. I do not need to put strain on them at any time with regard to the end result. It is going to be a pleasure for soccer, I hope,” shared the Indian coach.
“Alternatively, we are going to attempt to do our greatest. For us, it’s normal strain as a result of we have to attempt to get a optimistic lead to