India vs Oman: Decision making and accuracy in the box missing, says Igor Stimac

India football team coach Igor Stimac wants his side to play fearless football irrespective of the opponent following the Oman Wold Cup qualifier loss.

Igor Stimac stated that India was the better team in the second half against Oman on Tuesday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the lack of accuracy in finishing is a problem the team is facing.   -  AIFF Media

India Football team head coach Igor Stimac, after the narrow 0-1 defeat to Oman in Muscat, pronounced that he wants his team to “play without fear” against any opponent it faces.

“I want my India (team) to play without fear against anyone. Irrespective of whoever you are playing against, you always have a chance to win the game. We need to grab that,” Stimac stated in the post-match press conference held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Tuesday.

He added: "If you are trying to change (your gameplan) according to your opponents, it shows your team’s weakness -- which is the last thing I would want for my team. We stick to our system and we are working on the players’ strengths and conditioning."

Muhsen Al Ghassani scored the solitary goal of the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier match in the 33rd minute for the host in front of a 24,000-odd crowd at the picturesque stadium in the capital city of the Gulf Nation.

READ| FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers: India suffers second defeat to Oman

Stimac stated that India was the better team in the second half and it has been doing good work in open play and creating opportunities to score, however, the lack of accuracy in finishing is a problem it is facing.

“We were the better side in the second half but couldn’t find the way to score a goal. This is our main problem which has been haunting us always. We are moving well, we are fighting, we are doing what’s necessary but when we come inside the box, the decision making is not at par and the accuracy is not there as well. We need to get used to this, cut the numbers of mistakes down and try to get better results in the future,” he said.

India’s hopes of getting a positive result got heavily affected when Pronay Halder and Adil Khan had to be substituted inside the first 40 minutes owing to injuries. Pronay, who suffered a shoulder injury, was replaced by Vinit Rai in the 27th minute, whereas the coach introduced Anas Edathodika after withdrawing Adil Khan in the 36th minute.

“Today, our only player who is a tough tackler (Pronay) suffered a shoulder injury. He was the main player who could fight for the second ball and his absence killed us in the second half,” said the 52-year-old coach. 

"When you are forced to make two substitutions due to injuries in the first half, it upsets the team. You need to compromise with the work which you have done before the game and it reduces your chances to tweak with your plan in the second half. Even I was hesitant to make the third change thinking of another injury which could have happened anytime. It was a big risk and we are facing this for long," he added.

Following this result, India’s position in group E stays unchanged with three points from five matches. It is now scheduled to face reigning AFC Asian Cup champion Qatar at home in the return leg of the World Cup qualifiers (Asia) on March 26.

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