'This point was well deserved' - Stimac on Qatar draw

India football coach Igor Stimac has taken a lot of positives out of the 0-0 draw against Qatar on Tuesday.

Indian coach Igor Stimac (centre) said that Indian football holds a bright future after its spirited peformance against a strong team like Qatar.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India held Asian champion Qatar to a goalless draw at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha in its second World Cup qualifier match on Tuesday. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had a night to remember as the skipper. In the absence of Sunil Chhetri, he put up an inspirational performance in front of goal to deny the host of any success.

"They had more chances and more corners. We also had a few chances, but it's the experience we have gained [that counts]," coach Igor Stimac said at the post-match conference.

Qatar had a total of 27 shots and 15 corners in comparison to India's two and one respectively. The host enjoyed the lion's share of possession — 68 per cent — but Stimac is unmoved with the statistics. He feels the challenging games will only help India prepare better.

READ| Gurpreet Sandhu heroics help India to goalless draw against Qatar

"That's the beauty of football. Where there is danger, there's an opportunity."

The Croatian also stressed on the importance of a good mindset.

 "We have been working on the mindset. If you get it right, it will win you matches. That's what makes a team powerful. We have a bright future to look forward to."

Stimac also took a potshot at those who criticised his team’s fitness levels after India lost 1-2 to Oman in its campaign-opener, with both Oman goals coming in the final eight minutes.

The coach asserted that fitness was never a problem for his side.

“You see, I cannot reply to each comment after a game because not many people are well educated about football. We are a fit team and we proved it today.

“We played against Qatar and we made space for ourselves even in the last minutes. We made sprints even in the 95th minute, showing a lot of concentration. So we showed good fitness,” Stimac said.

India will play Bangladesh in its next World Cup qualifying match in Kolkata on October 15 and the coach expects a full house at the mecca of Indian football.

“Our country has a population of over 1.3 billion people compared to that this was a very small crowd.

“I want to see 80,000 people in Kolkata against Bangladesh. We deserve that and they need to come and support us,”

The coach also had a message for the Indian fans - "just keep calm."

"At the end of the day, this point was well deserved," he signed off.

(With inputs from PTI).

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