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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

There’s so much to improve football : Chhetri on India’s win over Vanuatu


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Bhubaneswar: Indian men’s football team captain Sunil Chhetri was happy to collect the three points against Vanuatu in the Intercontinental Cup 2023 on Monday that saw the Blue Tigers book a ticket to the final, but underlined the need to improve their performance.

The hosts were frustrated for a large part of the match and it wasn’t until Chhetri found the back of the net in the 80th minute to hand India the full points.

The Indian captain spoke about how his team needs to improve their play in the final third ahead of the upcoming matches.

“It wasn’t easy. Vanuatu defended very well with the combination of us being a bit hazy at the end. We created a lot of chances but we were dismal in front of the goal, to say the least,” the 38-year-old said after the match.

“All of us in the attacking half missed a lot of chances to at least take a shot. But at the end of the day, it’s an international game, it’s an important tournament and getting three points is what gives me immense happiness. There is so much that we can improve and we will,” he added.

Vanuatu defended with a lot of discipline to keep the Blue Tigers at bay, but Chhetri felt the team didn’t get the final delivery right on the night.

“The pressure was building with each passing minute and each missed chance. But the hope was there mainly because we were creating chances,” he said.

“We were knocking on their doors, there were some good movements on the wings. We will hear a lot about our final delivery from the coach (because it wasn’t good). Apart from that we did well,” he added.

Chhetri, though, scored his 86th international goal to extend India’s winning run to seven matches on home soil and will look to continue the streak when they take on Lebanon in the final league stage match on Thursday.

India will expect to be tested against a team ranked two places above them in the FIFA charts and will look to overcome that test ahead of the final on Sunday.


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