Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Indian men's football team, claimed on Thursday that he would repeat the conduct that led to his dismissal during India's SAFF Championship opener against Pakistan. Stimac revealed that he would do it again if needed to protect his players on the field as football remains his passion.
Things got heated in the 45th minute of the high-voltage game as Stimac prevented a Pakistani player from taking a throw-in at the touchline, leading to a skirmish between the players. The fight forced the referee to hand Stimac a red card, while his Pakistani counterpart was given a yellow card.
You can hate or love me for my actions yesterday: Igor Stimac
The former Croatian player took to his official Twitter handle and wrote:
"Football is all about passion, especially when you defend the colours of your country. You can hate or love me for my actions yesterday, but I am a warrior and I will do it again when needed to protect our boys on the pitch against unjustified decisions."
At a post-match press conference, assistant coach Mahesh Gawli admitted that handing out red card was a harsh call, but acknowledged the need to go by the book.
"Yeah, it was an offence that if you go by the book often attracts a red card. But yeah, but then we feel that it might have been a bit harsh on the coach."
Sunil Chhetri stars with a hattrick as India beat Pakistan 4-0:
At the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, India defeated Pakistan 4-0 to win the game. Sunil Chhetri scored two goals in the first half to put him at 90 goals overall. He then added another goal in the second half for his fourth hat-trick in international play.
After nearly six years, the Blue Tigers made their long-awaited return to Bengaluru, and substitute Udanta Singh put the finishing touches on a fantastic evening with the fourth goal late in the game. One of India's biggest triumphs over Pakistan was this one.
India overcame their border opponents 5-2 in the 1999 SAF Games thanks to a hat-trick from IM Vijayan. After Puran Bahadur and IM Vijayan, Chhetri is the third Indian to score a hat-trick against Pakistan.