AFC Asian Cup | Our focus on next game against UAE, says Stephen Constantine

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AFC Asian Cup | Our focus on next game against UAE, says Stephen Constantine

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SportsCafe Desk

01/08/2019

Stephen Constantine has stated that though the win against Thailand has come at a big platform, he is not getting too carried away and is focusing solely on the next game against hosts UAE. India bagged its first victory in the Asian Cup since 1964 when they beat Thailand 4-1 on Sunday.

The Indian football team, to the delight of their fans, stunned many when they beat Thailand in a one-sided match 4-1 in their first league stage encounter. Now, if the team harbours any hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Asian Cup 2019, then they will have to secure at least one point each from their remaining two group matches against hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 10th and against Bahrain on 14th of this month.

“We have had some fantastic results in the last four years with this team and my previous stint (with India). I cannot single out one win (which is) more important than the others. This is a big platform. I don’t get too carried away. I am very happy (with this win). Next UAE,” Constantine told TOI after the Thailand win.

The Indian team is currently leading group A with three points while UAE and Bahrain are next with a point each. The three points provide India with a chance to sneak through to the pre-quarterfinal stages even if they lose their next two encounters narrowly. That is due to the fact that four third-placed teams in the group stages can also go through to the next round. However, two draws in the next two games would guarantee the Indian side a place in the knockout stages.

“The whole Asian Cup excites me. We have a very young side here and they are excited. Of course, hosts UAE will be a different game. They are a very good side but they are just another team standing in our way,” Constantine said.

Since the hosts played out a draw in their first game against Bahrain, the pressure will be on them to perform as the encounter against India becomes a must win for them. The Indian team will be wary of the 79th ranked team and would like to at least eke out a draw from the match.

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