I will do it again when needed to protect our boys against unjustified decisions: Stimac

Bengaluru, Jun 22 (PTI) India head coach Igor Stimac on Thursday defended his actions during the team’s 4-0 win over Pakistan in its SAFF Championship opener here, saying he “will do it again” to protect his players against “unjustified decisions”.

Stimac was shown a red card for interrupting with the actions of an opposition player deliberately at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday.

“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,” Stimac tweeted.

The rain-drenched first half was meandering to its conclusion with the home side leading 2-0 after two Sunil Chhetri goals. But a moment of indiscretion from Stimac suddenly enlivened the proceedings.

Stimac, a vastly experienced coach and player, chose to interfere when Pakistan player Abdullah Iqbal was ready to make a throw-in. Stimac tried to pull back the ball from the player, sparking wild reactions from some visiting players as well as some coaching staff.

The referee Prajwal Chhetri and other match officials had to intervene to separate the intensely sparring individuals.

As the scuffle was brought under control referee Chhetri showed red card to Stimac, as per the football rules, for interrupting with the actions of an opposition player deliberately.

Stimac could not stand on the sideline for the rest of the match, with former India defender Mahesh Gawli doing duty on the touchline.

A few players from India and Pakistan teams too were flashed yellow cards for intervening unnecessarily in the episode.

After rout of Pakistan, India assistant coach Gawli said the red card might appear a bit harsh on his senior, but the referee had 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,” Gawli had said during the post-match press conference.