AFC U-23: India in must- win situation vs Tajikistan

AFC U-23: India in must- win situation vs Tajikistan
Indian U-23 football team warming up.
Tashkent, March 23 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/23/2019 12:37:38 PM IST

After a loss against defending champions Uzbekistan, the India Under-23 colts will be in a “do-or-die” situation against Tajikistan in the ongoing AFC U-23 Championship, here on Sunday. After displaying good skill in the first 45 minutes, the Indian boys went down 0-3 against Uzbekistan on Friday. Speaking on the eve of the Tajikistan contest, head coach Derrick Pereira said: “It’s a crucial game. It’s more important given the current standing of the table. You might say it’s do-or-die for us. We’ll surely try to put in our best performance and see what awaits us,” Pereira stated. On Friday’s game, Pereira said ‘inexperience’ cost the team dearly. “Uzbekistan were physically stronger, and technically better than us. Our inexperience cost us the match. We got two chances in the first half. Had we converted them, we could have got an edge,” Pereira said.

Unlike other groups in the qualifiers, Group F comprises only three teams, which makes every single game crucial in the pursuit of a berth in the finals, scheduled in Thailand next year. “As we are playing only two matches, it’s tough for us to rectify things and implement them on the pitch within 48 hours of the first match. But we’ll take the challenge head-on,” Pereira said. Vinit Rai, who donned the captain’s armband at the Pakhtakor Stadium on Friday, said the team has the potential to make a comeback against Tajikistan.

“We made some mistakes and got punished (against Uzbekistan). If we are able to play to our true potential, we can surely get a positive result. We can’t afford any margin of error. We have to take the chances with both hands whatever comes our way,” Rai said. 


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