Philippines coach Michael Weiss admitted his team was “lucky” to have escaped with a 1-1 draw against India in the FIFA International Friendly at the Kanchenjunga Stadium on Friday. Weiss was speaking at the post-match Press Conference.
“The last header which India missed in injury time luckily sailed over,” he said. He was referring to Jeje Lalpekhlua’s header off Denzil Franco’s cross which narrowly sailed over.
“India made it difficult for us in the first half. Robin Singh upfront was a constant threat,” he further pronounced. “But we had our chances too. I’d say, 1-1 is a fair result.”
India’s national coach Wim Koevermans maintained it was a match of “two contrasting halves.”
“We attacked with high tempo in the first half and Sunil Chhetri put us ahead with a majestic header. But we conceded soon. In the second half, we defended very well and should have won had the Header in injury time not gone over.”
“Philippines are a very powerful side. It is from matches like this that you learn. We have played some good brand of football in the recent past and the trend continues,” he added.
Chhetri who scored his 42nd international goal is now at par with former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia. Bhaichung had scored 42 goals from 107 matches while Chhetri has equalled his record in 79 matches.
“He will score the next one in our next match against Nepal,” Koevermans said in a jocular tone.
However, Chhetri stressed that it’s hard to “remember records.”
“Once you go onto the Field there are so things which are more important. But I’m happy that I scored a well-rehearsed goal. Once you score of set pieces everyone stays happy. There’s so much planning which goes into set pieces,” Chhetri stated. “I want to thank all the fans who came over to cheer for us.”
“We played as a team. Aiborlang Khongjee who made his international debut tonight played a wonderful game,” Chhetri opined. Aiborlang became the 475th Player to have made his debut for India.
Meanwhile, the lush-green turf came in for praise from Hans. “I wish we had some 5-6 fields like this back in Philippines,” he said. “It was perfect for a game of high tempo.”
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)