India head coach Igor Stimac believes that the team needs to start scoring without Sunil Chhetri on the pitch. They got their campaign off to a perfect start as Sunil Chhetri scored a brace at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The Blue Tigers are looking to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup main draw for the first time in two consecutive seasons.

“Just a few words on the win. A big thanks to the boys who played today. It was really difficult because you couldn’t breathe outside today. I understand that the brain isn’t working properly and oxygen isn’t coming up there when needed,” India coach Igor Stimac said about Sunil Chhetri. “The players did the best they could do today and got the result we wanted. They got the job done, which is very important. I asked for two things today, goals and clean sheets. I would’ve been happier with 3-4 goals but was happy with two too. I’m confident about what is coming up.”

“A fair result would’ve been if we had won by 4-0. We had 4-5 more clear chances, so two more goals would’ve served well. But, we must be humble. The players are trying but are not finding a way to score,” he added. “You must wonder why I took Sunil and Brandon (Fernandes) out, who were the two more influential players. We have three games and we need to protect the players. And in this game, it’s again Sunil. Others are still trying but aren’t able to find the goals. I expect Liston (Colaco), Manvir (Singh), Udanta (Singh), and Ashique (Kuruniyan) to score. They all need to start scoring. Our boys need to learn to start playing without Sunil. Every game brings different things. It’s how the players can adapt to what I’m asking.”

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