India will be looking for a triumphant ending as it turns out in the third and final match of the Tri-nation International Football, which will be played at the Khuman Lampak Stadium under lights here on Tuesday. As it stands now, a draw will be enough to see India, which had won its first match against Myanmar, lifting the title.
Kyrgyzstan, which drew its match against Myanmar 1-1, needs to win to claim the trophy. And this makes the final fixture of the short tournament interesting for the Indian fans who are going to pack the 30,000-capacity stadium in the Manipur capital.
Keeping the Asian Cup preparations in mind, Indian coach Igor Stimac spoke of introducing a few fresh faces who have been rested in the the opening match against Myanmar. “It will be a totally different team that will be taking on Kyrgyzstan, as many of the players who were rested in the first match because of their involvement in the ISL final will be there, and we will have a stronger side going for the final outing,” Stimac said.
The National coach expected his team to go out for a win and become the creditable champion. “With the classification factor in mind Kyrgyzstan will come out full throttle against us to stay alive in this competition. It is a bit different for us because even with a draw we can finish on top of the tournament. But we are not looking for a draw and would like to come out looking for a win with a good mindset and a positive attitude,” he said, adding that Sahal Abdul Samad has been flown in to replace winger Manvir Singh, who seems to have aggravated an injury.
Kyrgyzstan head coach Alexander Krestinin said his side will be looking to get over the mistakes committed against Myanmar and come out strongly against India. “We reviewed the game (against Myanmar). A lot of things didn’t go as planned. We have also analysed India’s matches and will look to correct our previous mistakes tomorrow,” he said.
Krestinin has been in charge of the Kyrgyz side since 2014 and has faced India twice before in his tenure. The matches happened during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign where the Kyrgyz won 2-1 at home and lost the away match 0-1 while visiting India. Krestinin stated that those results will have no bearing on the upcoming encounter against the same opponent. “The previous games against India don’t affect our preparations for tomorrow. Now, there are many new faces on both sides, and it will be a different sort of game,”
Krestinin said Igor Stimac congratulated his boys for the cohesive show they put out in the win against Myanmar. “We won the first game, but we could have done that by a bigger scoreline. The credit goes to our boys they delivered well. I was very happy with the performance of the team’s defensive work as they did not allow Myanmar to hurt us,” he said. The head coach said he was quite optimistic about the match against
Kyrgyzstan. “We know they are a better-ranked team and have more quality on their side, but it also gives us the chance to prove ourselves as a team. I feel my team is in a positive mood and has good motivation. So I am quite optimistic about the game,” he said.
Stimac was a bit apprehensive about the condition of the pitch which he felt was not upto the standard of the pitches offered in the Indian Super League matches. “What I know is that Kyrgyzstan was really trying hard against Myanmar, but the pitch did not allow them to express their quality because they were struggling to make passes on the pitch,” he said while adding that the local authorities have worked hard to overcome some infrastructural shortcomings and to prepare the venue for an international tournament. “With so much developmental work happening here, Manipur will be a great football venue in future,” Stimac said.
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