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Constantine keen to forget UAE disappointment
January 12, 2019
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ABU DHABI: The morning after India went down to hosts UAE in their second group match, head coach Stephen Constantine said that the team now “needs to get ready for the next game” against Bahrain.

“We have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game. We need to aim for a win and get something from that game. Hopefully, we can get the result to qualify,” Constantine said.

India will next play Bahrain on Jan.14 and a victory will ensure them a spot in the Round of 16.

Talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri also echoed Constantine’s words.

“We are still in the running. We are ready to face Bahrain. As a team, we are united. We are ready to fight. That’s our game plan against Bahrain,” Chhetri asserted.

Against the UAE, the Indians muffed several gilt-edged opportunities, hit the bar twice and eventually went down 0-2.

Referring to the match, Constantine explained: “I said to the boys you did not lose this game. You have shown what you are capable of. Even they (UAE players) were surprised and did not believe that we were this good.

“We are only going to get better with this kind of games. The team has an average age of 25. The players will get only better from here. We had four clear chances to score but UAE scored with the half chance they had.”

Chhetri agreed. “It was a tight game. If we could have taken our chances it could have been different. UAE are a good side and they converted their chances,” the India skipper said.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been quick to reflect on what could have been for India in the wake of their loss to hosts.

“I am proud of the boys, I don’t think people would have expected we could have performed the way we did against the UAE. We were very unlucky and could have scored two or three goals,” declared the JSW Bengaluru custodian.

“We had to be strong, we could not sit back and hit them with counter attacks, we wanted to press them and make sure they made mistakes.

“We had chances but unfortunately we couldn’t score. Even in the second half we struck the bar and the post, but that is something which happens in football. If we had scored from the chances we had, then it could have been a different game both physically and mentally.”

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