AFC Asian Cup 2019: UAE to face India in must win match
India Sunil Chhetri celebrates after scoring a goal during match beetween Thailand vs India at the AFC Asian Cup held at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times
Abu Dhabi - The UAE will need to be solid at the back when they face India in the crucial Group A match.
By Ashwani Kumar
Published: Thu 10 Jan 2019, 8:02 PM
The battle lines are drawn. Even though Indian coach Stephen Constantine kept his cards close to his chest, there was a stark warning and a great indication of how the Englishman has prepared for his AFC Asian Cup Group A opponent - the UAE.
"The UAE are difficult team. I cannot single out any one player. We are prepared for 14 of them, including three substitutes. So, we are as prepared as we can for this game," Constantine said.
The coach noted that after 1-1 drawn result against Bahrain, the UAE will be hungry for three points.
"The UAE didn't play to best of their capabilities. They will be jacked up to play us. They will see this as a must-win situation. We expect a tough game but we will play our game and see if we can get something from it. We respect them a lot but we are prepared," he said and noted that Sunil Chettri will lead the team.
The coach said the win against Thailand has raised expectations.
"We started with zero expectations. It's great that we have given people hope through football. It's not by chance but we deserve to be here. We need to qualify for these tournaments on a regular basis."
He said India, sitting with three points, will fight for a win in all the three matches.
"Getting nine points will be great, six will do but I think four might be enough (to qualify into knockouts). We are not going for a draw. We came here to make India proud."
Pritam Kotal, the right-back, said there were no favourites in the tournament and the outcome of the games depended on the execution of plans on the field that matters.
"The morale in the team is very high. We have just one aim to qualify into the next stage. The UAE will be difficult but we will fight till the end. We have a plan for the UAE. We will hope to implement coach's plan."
Kotal said the big number of fans presence will motivate the players. "Indian supporters are here in big numbers. They motivate us further and will help us to be more focused," he added.
India take on the UAE at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Thursday.