Afghan coach questions India’s slipping FIFA ranking after match victory

Afghanistan’s football coach, Ashley Westwood, praised his team’s performance, asserting their dominance and saying they deserved the victory, even in the first-leg match that ended in a draw.

The loss marked a significant upset for India, playing on their home ground.

In the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers’ second-round Group A match Tuesday, India suffered a 2-1 defeat against Afghanistan.

Sunil Chhetri scored for India from the penalty spot in the 38th minute, but Afghanistan rallied with goals from Rahmat Akbari in the 70th minute and Sharif Mukhammad’s penalty in the 88th minute, clinching their victory.

“We remained confident even when we were trailing. To be honest, we also could have won the earlier match. We were always the dominant side in the match,” Westwood commented, reflecting on the initial clash in Abha, Saudi Arabia, which concluded in a goalless draw.

“It was unlucky at 0-0 in the last game. We could have won that if we took our chances. I was not under pressure at 1-0 at half-time because I knew we would score. I never felt pressured because I always believed in the boys, and I am glad we got the result,” he added.

India’s coach, Igor Stimac, faced significant criticism following the defeat but has refused to resign, stating his commitment to his mission until June. Westwood remarked on Stimac’s efforts, noting the Croatian is doing his best.