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Kolkata return excites India

Guwahati: India are expecting strong support in the stands when they face Bangladesh in Group E of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata on October 15.

There was great support for India in their Asian Qualifiers opener against Oman in Guwahati on September 5 and head coach Igor Stimac is expecting a similar scenario in Kolkata, where the Blue Tigers will be playing for the first time in eight years.

India's result against Qatar, where they held the AFC Asian Cup champions 0-0 in Doha after suffering a late 2-1 defeat to Oman is also expected to spur the fans to pack the VYBK Stadium stands.

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"Everyone expects us to win and many people already feel that this India team is at the beginning of a new and very successful era. Everyone in the camp is excited about national team's return to Kolkata.

"I have been told it’s been long eight years since we last played there. We intend to make it an unforgettable experience," Stimac said.

"There was brilliant support for us in Guwahati (against Oman) and now we are expecting a full house in Kolkata also."

India will also be playing a friendly match against Indian Super League side Northeast United FC in Guwahati.

"It'll be a good test for us before facing Bangladesh and a great chance for all the players to fight for a place in the team," Stimac said.

Talismanic goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who donned the captain's armband against Qatar on September 10, said he"can't wait to hit the pitch."

"It's always about looking ahead and starting from scratch. We can't wait to hit the pitch and get our first win. That'll give our campaign some much-needed boost for the upcoming games in November and later," Sandhu stated.

"I have played in Kolkata during my early days. But representing your country in front of the enthralling crowd of Kolkata will be a different experience altogether. We can't wait to set the ball rolling," Sandhu stressed.

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