New Delhi -°C
Today in New Delhi, India

Sep 23, 2019-Monday
-°C

Humidity
-

Wind
-

Select city

Metro cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata

Other cities - Noida, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Bhopal , Chandigarh , Dehradun, Indore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi

Monday, Sep 23, 2019

AFC Asian Cup 2019: Stephen Constantine upbeat about India’s chances against Bahrain

While hosts UAE lead the proceedings with four points from two games, India and Thailand are close behind with three points each.

football Updated: Jan 14, 2019 18:41 IST
PTI
PTI
Sharjah
India's defender Pritam Kotal, left, celebrates with India's head coach Stephen Constantine during the AFC Asian Cup group A soccer match between Thailand and India.
India's defender Pritam Kotal, left, celebrates with India's head coach Stephen Constantine during the AFC Asian Cup group A soccer match between Thailand and India.(AP)
         

The odds are stacked against India but a confident head coach Stephen Constantine says his players have it in them to qualify for the next round of the AFC Asian Cup by beating Bahrain, here on Monday. The Group A is currently balanced on a knife’s edge, with all four teams still standing a chance to qualify for the Round of 16.

While hosts UAE lead the proceedings with four points from two games, India and Thailand are close behind with three points each. The ‘Blue Tigers’ are ahead of the ‘War Elephants’ by virtue of a better head-to-head record, while Bahrain lies bottom with one point.

A win for India will be enough to directly seal a berth in the next round, although, with four best third placed teams from the six groups also advancing to the Round of 16, a draw will also see India through.

Also Read: We didn’t convert our chances against UAE, says coach Constantine

So far, India and Bahrain have faced each other seven times. While Bahrain have won five times, India have just managed a solitary win, with the other match ending in a draw. In fact, the last time that the two teams squared off was in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar where India lost 2-5.

Constantine says his side can script history.

“I have said it before that we can qualify from this group. That is our objective right now,” said Constantine on the eve of the match.

“I don’t believe in records. There are a lot of factors that come into play. When was the last time we played them? Was it the same team? What were the circumstances? Everything’s always changing,” said Constantine.

Also Read: History beckons for India in Sunil Chhetri’s record-equalling match against Bahrain

“If we win, we don’t have to worry about anyone else. So we’ll focus on ourselves and see what happens from there. It’s an important game for us. Obviously, we want to do well and get the three points.

“I’m not sure whether we can call it ‘do-or-die’. That’s a bit too dramatic, I think,” Constantine said.

The India coach had words of praise for the opponents.

“They defend very well and are very well organised. I’m sure that it will be difficult. But we have shown that we can score against good teams. I’m sure we can score tomorrow as well,” he maintained.

First Published: Jan 13, 2019 19:12 IST