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Asian Cup 2019: Hosts UAE will be Under Pressure, says India Coach Stephen Constantine

AIFF Media
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1.42K   //    09 Jan 2019, 15:43 IST

Stephen Constantine
Stephen Constantine

After thumping Thailand 4-1 in the Asian Cup 2019 opener, India face a stiff challenge from hosts UAE at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 10.

Coach Stephen Constantine feels the hosts will be under pressure and this could turn out to be a huge advantage for India.

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"We know all the three games are going to be very tough. There'll be no easy game at this level. But we'll go toe-to-toe with them. A game is not played on paper, but on the pitch. The UAE are the hosts and will be under pressure. It’s understandable they will go for all three points,” Constantine expressed.

The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, 3 and will also be streamed live on Hotstar. The kick-off is slated for 9.30 pm IST.

ALSO READ: 5 UAE Stars to watch out for

UAE are currently ranked 79 in the FIFA rankings, and they have been on the winning side on eight occasions against India out of 13 matches played between the two sides. The Blue Tigers have won thrice.

The last encounter between these two sides which took place at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi in 2011 had ended in a 2-2 draw, with the last goal being scored by Jeje Lalpekhlua.

"Jeje is a very good player. But unfortunately, he did not have much game time recently. You put Jeje in the position and he will score for you. I was so happy that he scored the goal against Thailand. He deserves to get the goal, especially at this level,” the coach was all praise for the Mizo sniper.

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Constantine added: "They are a physical, as well as a skillful side. I am not worried about our fitness. We have to play our best game to get the result.”


ALSO READ: All you need to know about UAE

Sunil Chhetri, who added another two to his International goal scoring tally in the last outing, also earned huge plaudits from the coach. The two goals took him to 67, surpassing Lionel Messi in the highest scoring active player's list.

"Sunil has always given everything whenever he has played for the National Team. I can't complain about this. He is there to do his job and his job is to score goals. He has a phenomenal scoring record and we're better with him in the team,” the coach maintained.

"Against Thailand, we gave the ball away too many times which put the opposition in an advantageous position. We have to look after the ball better. I feel we started a bit nervous. Some young boys were too eager to press. We can't repeat it against UAE."

Meanwhile, deploying Ashique Kuruniyan up front alongside Sunil Chhetri proved to be a perfect masterstroke by the 55-year-old coach. When he was asked whether he has any further trickery up his sleeves, he quipped: "You have to wait and see."

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