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Sunday, October 24, 2021

SAFF Championship 2021: India’s Igor Stimac responds to Nepal coach over ‘celebration dance’


Igor Stimac was a relieved man after India beat Nepal 1-0 in their third match of the SAFF Championship 2021 at the National Football Stadium in Male, on Sunday. The win put them in the third position in the table with five points from three matches and in contention for a spot in the finals.

However, the Croatian was visibly concerned with the way the forwards missed chances throughout the match. Even Sunil Chhetri wasted a couple of them until he scored in the 82nd minute.

What did Igor Stimac say?

“I am very happy with the three points, which is keeping us until the very end with a great possibility of finishing in the finals. I am very happy and grateful for how our boys responded today, in nearly everything. I say nearly because scoring is an area where we need to improve. From chances like that we need to score. Otherwise, you have to suffer until the very end. But we need to be patient,” he stated.

What did Stimac say about Sunil Chhetri’s performance?

The Indian skipper missed two golden opportunities, one in each half. However, he did redeem himself after scoring the winner in the 82-minute. With that goal, he equalled Brazilian legend Pele’s tally of 77 strikes.

“He could have made the difference earlier (laughs). He kept us all nervous till the end. We are all very happy for him and for the record. All the team are working so that he can score more goals.”

India vs Nepal Sunil Chhetri

Stimac hits back at Nepal’s coach Abdullah Almutairi

Igor Stimac was seen doing a little jig immediately after after India took the lead through Sunil Chhetri. Although it was all in jest, Abdullah Almutairi perceived it as being ‘shameful’. The Croatian responded to him in kind.

“I’m not sure what’s wrong with my celebration. Can you tell me? I think he should ask himself what he meant when he said India is 95 per cent favourite. That’s disrespectful to his team. He shouldn’t be thinking about myself and my celebration. I’m sorry that he mentioned this because nothing was wrong with my celebration. Or maybe, I don’t have the right to celebrate.

“I’m doing my job and I’m a professional doing the best I can. I’m trying to stay concentrated on what my players are doing on the pitch, not about how I’m going to celebrate my goals. Maybe, some other coaches think about how they celebrate goals. They’re becoming like players,” Stimac expressed.

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