FIFA World Cup Qualifiers | Oman had more chances, so they deserved to win, admits Igor Stimac
India's head coach Igor Stimac admitted that Oman deserved the win after India lost to them by a solitary goal by Muhsen Al Ghassani in the 33rd minute, at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on Tuesday. Moreover, Stimac has also expressed his concern of India not scoring from open play.
India's World Cup hopes almost ended as the Blue Tigers narrowly lost to Oman by a 33rd minute strike by Muhsen Al Ghassani at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat on Tuesday. The goalscorer had earlier missed a penalty in the 6th minute for Oman and made up for the same minutes 27 minutes later.
India could not create many goal-scoring opportunities in the crucial game and head coach Igor Stimac credited Oman for doing what his boys couldn't. “Congratulations to Oman and I wish them all the luck in the upcoming Gulf Cup which is very important for them. I think the game was good and exciting. Oman had more chances, so they deserved to win. We were a better side in the second half, but we could not find a way to score the goal. That has been our main problem in these five games," Igor Stimac told reporters at the post-match conference, ISL website reported.
"All our goals came for set pieces. The main reason why is because we are missing many players who can score goals. There is indecision and inaccuracy in the box, and we need to work on that problem,” he added.
India are now fourth on the five team table, with just three points, although the coach looked satisfied with his side. "Oman is a better side than India, but we are coming close (to them). We showed in the two games (against them) that we can play against teams like Oman, who I consider among the best teams in Asia.
"They have quality, they are physical, they have strength and speed. As a coach I must be proud of my players, even today. They could do better in the first half but that is a learning process. We have many young players and need to get used to that and reduce the mistakes," Stimac added.
India faced a huge blow by losing Adil Khan and Pronoy Halder in the first-half of the game, which left Stimac with very little of option. The manager spoke about the same and revealed what went wrong for India.
“We have been facing such problems from the beginning of the qualifications. But it was not only us, it was Oman as well. The problem is that there are not enough competitive matches internationally to play high-intensity football for 90 minutes. But today, we faced different problems, we could not pick up the high balls, and that is what killed us.” The Croatian coach added.
India will now face Asian Champions Qatar for their next World Cup qualifying fixture. However, coach Stimac has stated that he is not willing to change the playing system for any team.
“We are not changing our system for anyone. We are developing our game and we are improving inside our system. If we start changing our system because of the teams we are facing, we are not going to improve. It’s as simple as that, so, we stick with our system. We are improving on positions. We are trying to develop our players’ strength and conditions. I want my India to play without fear against anyone because that’s the beauty of football. Never mind who is on the opposite side. You have a chance to win the game. But if you are adapting your way of play according to the opposite team, you must be weak. You show weakness. I don’t want my team to show weakness,” the 52-year-old said.
Igor Stimac also revealed why he choose Ashique Kuruniyan in the left back position and praised the youngster's performance. “I decided to go with Ashique Kuruniyan in that position because of how he played against Afghanistan in the second half while in that position. He is very quick. He can run past three players. He is very dangerous when he comes from behind. He’s not a goal scorer. So, it’s the same for him whether he plays as a left fullback or left winger. He served really well today. I think he has the capacity to play in Europe. He is very young. He is very quick. He learns very quickly and he is one of the players who will have a good future in Indian football," Stimac concluded.