SAFF women's U-18 football: Task cut out for India against defending champion Bangladesh

It will not be an easy game for Thomas Dennerby's side as Bangladesh is coming into Saturday's match after a dominating 4-2 win over Nepal.

FILE PHOTO: India midfielder Martina Thokchom (in pic) feels that the team has gradually ironed out its weaknesses.   -  The Hindu

India will have its task cut out against defending champions Bangladesh in their second match of the SAFF U-18 women's championships here on Saturday.

It will not be an easy game for Thomas Dennerby's side as Bangladesh is also coming into Saturday's match after a dominating 4-2 win over Nepal.

Dennerby asked his players to raise their level when they play against Bangladesh at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here.

"I hope we can play in a relaxed manner after that good start to the tournament. But the fact remains that it's a new game tomorrow. So we need full concentration going ahead," said Dennerby on the eve of the match.

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"We came to this tournament with the aim of having four good games, and we are not satisfied with just one win. I hope we can come to the stadium against Bangladesh with the same energy." Despite India having a near-perfect game against Nepal, the 62-year-old coach feels that there is always room for improvement.

"There are some small situations where we can improve the way we deal with things. I think we play a bit slow, sometimes a few too many square passes. If we can put in a few quick passes in the midfield and then play through balls like we did against Nepal. I hope we can keep going that way," said Dennerby.

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"Bangladesh have also had a very good result against Nepal, and they have been very successful in this competition in the past. But I will tell the same thing that I have always told my players – we will show the same amount of respect to all our opponents, but fear none of them," said the India head coach.

India midfielder Martina Thokchom, who made her senior international debut in Brazil last year, feels that the team has gradually ironed out its weaknesses and improved over time.

"We have been working on various areas over the past couple of months. Yes, we had a good game against Nepal, but there are plenty of areas where we can improve," said Martina.

"We have worked one a few of them before the Bangladesh game, and hopefully we can put in a good show tomorrow."

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