Indian Football Team

Igor Stimac praises his team, takes dig at referees

Analoy MajumderAnaloy Majumder

September 8 2023
Igor Stimac Asian Games Hangzhou 2023 Indian Football Team

India will face Lebanon in the third place play-off

The King’s Cup is being played by four teams, including Thailand (ranked 113), Lebanon (ranked 100), India (ranked 99), and Iraq (ranked 70). The host country for this short knockout format tournament is Thailand. Iraq defeated India 5-4 in the King’s Cup penalty shootout on Thursday at Chiang Mai, Thailand. The score between the two teams remained locked at 2-2 after the end of regulation time. Both Nikhil Poojary and Naorem Mahesh Singh scored goals for India.

In their history, India has played Iraq six times, losing four and drawing two of the contests. Iraq, a team from Asia that is currently the seventh-highest-ranked team in Asia, was the obvious favorite to win the match. India played admirably against the Iraqi team playing at full strength, and for a brief moment it looked as though they would prevail. Despite a valiant effort, the blue tigers were defeated by Iraq.

Mahesh Naorem Singh took the lead in the 16th minute. In the 28th minute, Iraq’s Ali Karim tied the game with a penalty goal. India and Iraq had their scores levelled 1-1 at the end of the first half. Iraq’s goalie Jalal Hasan made a mistake, so Akash Mishra’s shot in the second half went through. When the ball was put into the goal, India got a 2-1 lead. In the 72nd minute, Iraq was about to tie the score. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a great save to stop them.

Ayman Hussain scored the equalising goal for Iraq in the second half after Nikhil Poojary and Sandesh Jhingan tripped Iraqi players in the penalty area, giving Iraq a penalty in the 80th minute. In the 84th minute, Hussain came close to scoring a third goal, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a terrific stop. The late penalty that Iraq was given sparked a great deal of debate which raised numerous concerns about the refereeing.

Igor Stimac tweeted on Twitter(X) after controversies were running down regarding the penalty that was awarded to Iraq in the last quarter.

Igor Stimac’s tweet after the match

The Indian team head coach, Igor Stimac tweeted on Twitter(X), praising his team after they fought hard against Iraqis in the opening game of the King’s Cup 2023.

Igor Stimac wrote in his tweet, “Our boys left everything on that pitch tonight and I am immensely proud of them! Someone decided to rob them from winning tonight but the time will come sooner than many expect that even referees will not be able to stop my boys winning such games!”

This tweet from Igor Stimac makes it very apparent that he was not at all not happy with the refereeing, as this is not the first time that decisions have gone against his team, which has resulted in the blue tigers losing crucial matches as a consequence. Iraq was given two penalties during the regulation time that have both been the subject of debate and controversies. There are rumours running down all over social media that the Indian team has been treated unfairly by the referee.

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