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By Joseph Solomon,
AIFF Media Team


KUALA LUMPUR (MALAYSIA): It was on December 11, 1959 that India last defeated Iran. A 3-1 win, courtesy strikes from Chuni Goswami, Yusuf Khan and Tulsidas Balaram in the Asia Cup Qualifiers. Since then, India has never ever defeated Iran in any format of any men’s competition across all age groups.


A day prior to facing Iran U-16 in the AFC U-16 Championship, Head Coach Bibiano Fernandes talks at length about the team’s preparations, Iran’s challenges, the mood and a lot more. EXCERPTS:


What is your assessment of India’s win against Vietnam?


We wanted to start our AFC U-16 Championship campaign on a positive note and we got what we wanted – a win in the first match. Vietnam did push us to an extent but credit goes to the boys for attacking incessantly towards a victory.


We were highly compact in our defence and swift in attack and our transitions were also perfectly timed to catch Vietnam on the wrong foot. In fact, we could have scored two or three goals more had we been clinical in front of goal.


Will conversion rate be a worrisome issue?


We are creating many chances and that is what matters. As long as chances are created, goals will come. We are working on our finishing as well and trying to right the wrongs. The boys are toiling daily in practice to better themselves. I am satisfied by what I saw against Vietnam in terms of chances created and am sure the boys will score a lot many goals in games to come.


Iran lost against Indonesia in their first match. How tough will Iran be, as they would be looking for a win?


Iran are a powerhouse in youth football and one of the best teams in the region. Facing them in any format is a challenge in itself and what is even more challenging is when a team like Iran’s calibre will settle for nothing less than a win.


However, even though we respect our opponents, we are confident in our abilities and trust our game plan against them. We will give our hundred percent on the pitch and hope to continue our winning streak.


Is scoring first the plan against Iran?


Any coach will want to score a goal in the first minute itself. But that cannot be planned.


If India win against Iran, you could potentially qualify for the quarterfinals.


We are taking one match at a time and we focus on Iran next. The quarterfinals are an interesting prospect and we are trying our level best to progress, but our first task is to better Iran.

Posted on : Sunday September 23, 2018