1/9/2019 3:22:10 PM (GMT+3)

UAE will be under pressure, says India coach Stephen Constantine

UAE will be under pressure, says India coach Stephen Constantine

ABU DHABI, UAE: Indian coach Stephen Constantine exuded confidence ahead of their crucial Group A match against hosts UAE in the AFC Asian Cup here at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Thursday. 

"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 said at the pre-match Press conference. 

UAE are currently ranked 79 and they won eight out of 13 matches against India, who managed only two wins against the West Asian side.

The two teams last met in New Delhi at the 2014 FIFA World Cup quaifier with the match ending in a 2-2 draw while Jeje Lalpekhlua scored the last goal. 

"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,” said Constantine. 

The Englishman also heaped praise on veteran striker Sunil Chhetri whose double strike against Thailand helped him surpass Argentine 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 score goals and has a phenomenal scoring record and we're better with him in the team,” he added.

India, who defeated Thailand 4-1 in their opener, lead the group with 3 points while UAE are third with just a point after having drawn 1-1 with Bahrain, and need to win against India should they harbour any hope of sailing through the next round.