The Indian national team has been held to a goalless draw by the Pailan Arrows in a practise match at the Jaypee Greens on Saturday.
India coach Wim Koevermans used the match to experiment with his squad ahead of the 2012 Nehru Cup which will kick-off on Wednesday. Both teams pressed on positional play, building from the back. The Indian team carried out the instructions to perfection according to Team India sources. The team pressed hard, closed down the gaps and hardly faltered.
Sporting Clube de Portugal star Sunil Chhetri played 45 minutes and missed a golden opportunity to give the Indian team a 1-0 lead, when his first half penalty hit the woodwork and went wide.
But the India skipper was satisfied with the match and the progress made in the last few days. “We are really working hard to do what the coach wants us to do. It is a new system and it will take time. But we are moving in the right direction,” said Sunil.
India keeper Subrata Pal agreed to Sunil’s assessment: “It’s surely a new system. The buildup starts from the goalkeeper an integral part. It feels nice to be at the national camp after so long.”
Asked about the Pailan Arrows, Sunil told: “They are a very tough unit. It was a very competitive match. They were not overawed and matched us. We regrouped better in the second half.”
Meanwhile, Sunil and Subrata shared also some experiences from their European summer. Sunil joined Sporting Clube de Portugal’s ‘B’ Team, while Subrata had a two-week long trial with Germany’s RB Leipzig [+ read more].
“There are players from all over Europe in the squad and also from Africa. I am the eldest member in the squad and hence, the responsibility stays higher,” Sunil told about his Portuguese journey.
“The football played in Germany was much more direct. It was nice to be in an alien environment. They praised my work ethics and that means a lot to me,” Subrata shared his experiences.
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