Kolkata: India football team head coach Igor Stimac has cautioned his team against Afghanistan, saying their players are physically very strong and could pose a bigger challenge than Cambodia in the Asian Cup Qualifiers.
India defeated Cambodia 2-0 in their opening match of the third round of AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers, but speaking ahead of the match against Afghanistan on Saturday, Stimac said, "We need to stay disciplined, concentrated and be composed on the ball.
"Afghanistan players are physically very strong. Positioning will be the key, and good reading of the game will be crucial. We need to keep tight lines, and win more duels. We need to be clever," he added.
Cambodia take on Hong Kong in the other match on Saturday here. As the situation stands, India and Hong Kong are on three points each from one match, while the others are yet to open their account.
"The last time we played Afghanistan in Doha we were better than them in each segment. Now we are in better shape than what we were last time around. I am confident about the situation we are in, and my expectations are that we will win this game," Stimac added.
Afghanistan head coach Anoush Dastgir said, "It's a do or die for us tomorrow against India. We need to learn from our mistakes. We have watched India and are preparing for them. Both teams know each other well. We expect a great game."
"Indian football has been doing well in the last few years. The league structure here in India is very good."
India team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu described Afghanistan as "a tough side to play against".
"They have players who play in Europe. It's always nice to play against a team that fights. We need to win, and that's why we are here," Gurpreet said.
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