SAFF Championship: After Nepal and Pakistan demolition Kuwait not keen on tinkering much against India
Kuwait, who have so far dominated the tournament, will play India in the final group stage encounter
After starting the SAFF Championship 2023 with a thumping 3-1 victory over Nepal, Kuwait produced yet another stellar performance, crushing Pakistan 4-0 in their second match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Pakistan, despite having a bulk of players with European experience, were no match for their opponents, who easily penetrated through their defence.
Hasan Al Enezi, who was seen walking with a heavy strap on his knees after the match, took just 10 minutes to break the deadlock. Seven minutes later Mubarak Al Faneni doubled Kuwait's advantage, and he then made it 3-0 at the stroke of half-time.
The final 45 minutes saw similar ball possession from Kuwait who scored their fourth, the final goal of the match, by Eid Naser Al Rashedi in the 69th minute with a powerful strike from the right side of the D to the opposite corner of the post.
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"I look for development of our game. We sometimes play well, but our ball possession can get better. Before coming here we played difficult games with African teams. It is very difficult to play with this weather, because the humidity is very high. But I need to congratulate our players for the previous two matches," the Kuwait head coach Rui Fernando Bento said at the post-match press conference.
Kuwait, who have so far dominated the tournament, will play India in the final group stage encounter, will have a much more challenging task at hands considering the form Blue Tigers are in, also the added home advantage. "I look first for my team. We play and we win, but I know we can do better. Now it's important to recover the players and after we look for them (India). I think all times I talk with players is what we can control, I cannot control our opponents. We can control our game, our system, our process. And this for me is most important at this moment," the coach said when asked about their chances on finishing at the top of Group A table.
If we look at India's recent form, the team has maintained seven clean sheets (excluding the clash against Nepal), while Kuwait have scored seven times in the last two matches. The Indian unit have generated good attacks from both flanks, as witnessed in the Intercontinental Cup final against Lebanon when Lallianzuala Chhangte had combined with Nikhil Poojaray before setting it up for Sunil Chhetri to score the first goal of the match.
Despite the fact the Kuwait coach is not very keen on tinkering the formation. "Believe, I don't change our processing and when we finish the game I will see if we were good, or not good. Because if you adapt your team multiple times, the players cannot understand what you want," he said.