India suffered their biggest defeat in over a decade by United Arab Emirates, who beat the Blue Tigers 6-0 in a friendly. Igor Stimac made plenty of changes to his side from their draw over Oman, and as a result, has drawn criticism from one former national team head coach.
Former Indian National Team head coach, Armando Colaco, has criticised incumbent Stimac for over-rotating the squad against United Arab Emirates. His comments come in the wake of a 6-0 thrashing.
Stimac should not have made so many changes, particularly when you play an international friendly against a strong opposition like UAE,the ex-India coach told The Times of India.
India played like novices. Friendly games are good, but you need to show faith in one set (of players). The coach has seen these players in the ISL, they were there for the camp, so you must pick your best team and keep faith in them.
Stimac made eight changes to his starting eleven from the one that had kicked-off against Oman. The Croat had been experimental against India’s previous opponents too, handing debuts to ten players. While the Blue Tigers did rescue something from the Oman game thanks to a spirited second-half performance, that wasn’t the case against the UAE.
Al Abyad, who had beaten India in their previous meeting in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, took the lead shortly after the start. Star striker Ali Mabkhout took just twelve minutes to open the scoring for his national team before adding another sometime later from the penalty spot.
Mabkhout completed his hat-trick just before the hour mark and then turned provider to Khalil Ibrahim for UAE’s fourth. Substitutes Fabio de Lima and Sebastian Tagliabue piled onto India’s misery by adding a goal each late on.
India will return from their Dubai base and continue to prepare for the upcoming 2023 AFC Asian Cup Second Round Qualifiers. Stimac’s men are currently fourth in a group of five but still stand a chance to qualify for the tournament. The qualifiers return in June, whereupon India will take on the current Asian champions, Qatar. They are also due to play Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the corresponding round.