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Kyrgyzstan match part of preparation for 2019 AFC Asian Cup: Indian football coach Stephen Constantine

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770   //    26 Mar 2018, 17:10 IST

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Stephen Constantine

What's the story?

The AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers have reached its final stages. Having already qualified for the main draw, India will be looking to consolidate the top spot of Group A when they play their final qualifier match against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.

The Indian coach Stephen Constantine seemed confident ahead of the tie as he said that his team would play to win. He dismissed claims that the Indian side might settle for a draw as Kyrgyzstan, too, have qualified for the tournament.

In case you didn't know...

The Asian Cup 2019 will take place from January 5th to February 1, 2019. The tournament will be held in the United Arab Emirates and will be the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup.

The heart of the matter

The third round of the AFC qualification started on 26th March 2017 and will see its final qualifier on Tuesday, 27th March.

Kyrgyzstan beat Myanmar 5-1 in their last match, clinching their spot in the main event, while India too breezed through the qualifying process with a 4-1 win against Macau in October last year. Both India and Kyrgyzstan performed exceptionally well in their group stage, as a result of which Constantine feels that the final qualifier should be looked at as preparation for the main draw.

Ahead of the match, Constantine feels that when he took up the job to coach the Indian side last year, his aim was to prepare them for qualification. Now that the goal has been achieved, he is not striving to make them ready for the tournament next year.

Speaking at the press conference, he said, "I think from a mathematical point, we’ve qualified and that was our objective when I took over the team. That objective is completed and my next task is to prepare this team for the Asian Cup. This game is part of that preparation,".

India had earlier defeated Kyrgyzstan last year in Bangalore, which happened to be their first match. Constantine revealed that he expects a competitive and exciting match from both teams. Stating that there is no added pressure on the team owing to the 5-1 win over Myanmar, he said that they respected their opponents and that they would play to win on the opponent's home ground.

What's next?

The final qualifier between India and Kyrgyzstan will be played tomorrow at 7.30 pm. The match will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Author's take

With an undying competitive spirit and consistent performance in the qualifiers, India's chances against Kyrgyzstan look bright but they must not be complacent.

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