A Win is a Win !!!!
By Stephen Constantine, Nov 17 2015 08:29AM
After losing the last five qualifiers all be it three of them by the odd goal we finally got a win and our first three points of the campaign.
As always seems to be the case with us we don’t do it the easy way and having to play with 10 men from the 38th minute did not help!
Torrential rain delayed the start of the game and it was still raining when we took our places for the kick off, Guam who had beaten us 2-1 in our first away game in the group had also taken points all at home I might add both against Turkmenistan 1-0 and a 0-0 draw at home to Oman and coming into the game had 7 points.
It was a cautious start from us in the first few minutes as we were trying to settle ourselves down and come to terms with our opponents.
A long ball down our left side saw Sunil Chhetri keep the ball in play and turn the ball back for Robin Singh who performed a perfect Cruyff turn turning his defender before lashing the ball with his right foot in off the underside of the bar giving the Guam keeper no chance !! What a start! That relaxed us a little and we started to pass the ball around and started to get into the game. Then yet another self inflicted wound as Senaj Singh after a poor first touch got himself sent off and we were down to 10 men, all of this in the 43rd minute. At half time we made a change to try and limit the damage and went to a 441 leaving Robin up front to fight on his own, naturally down to 10 men you’re going to have less of the ball and concede possession to Guam.
Guam did have several chances though most of them were long range efforts however 2-3 of those opportunities forced our keeper Gurpreet into having to make a couple of decent saves. We also had our moments especially as Guam pushed forward looking for the equalizer and Sunil Chhetri went close twice the first chance forcing the keeper into a great save with the rebound just falling behind the far post, his second effort was curling shot that went just wide. In the end we managed to hang on and I am very pleased for everyone connected with Indian football as this win keeps our hopes of qualifying alive.
I really want to thank the entire back room staff for all the hard work they have done in keeping the players fit and on the field. I also want to say a special thank you to our amazing fans The West Block who did not stop singing throughout the entire game and in the pouring rain as I have said before you guys are awesome!! Thank you
We now have to deal with the SAFF Suzuki Championship an 8 team competition here in India which starts on the 23rd of December, our first game against Pakistan followed by games on the 25th of December Vs Sri Lanka and the final game of the group stages Vs Nepal. The game will be held in the state of Kerela and I am looking forward to going back there after so many years.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who has tweeted support sent and sent me messages of encouragement as we look to build the new Indian team a team that we can all be proud of in the months and years ahead. I have given 18 players their International debuts in 9 games and while not all of them will go on to have long international careers I am certain that many of them will be the core of the National team for years to come. The foundation of this team has been laid we must now continue to build refine and develop while always looking for new players and keeping the ones we have on their toes.
My last thank you is to the players who although are going through quite an ordeal when you think about what they have to deal with. The two leagues ISL & I league, then the National team, the constant travel, hotels and everything that goes along with travelling the length and breadth of this vast country as well as Asia. They have given me everything and this win is for them .I am so happy for them and look forward to them winning a few more games this year.