AFC Asian Cup qualifier: India look to continue unbeaten run vs Kyrgyz Republic
India aim to continue their impressive run in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers as they face Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek on Tuesday.Updated: Mar 27, 2018 10:28 IST
Having already secured qualification to the 2019 Asian Cup, India will look to continue their unbeaten run when they lock horns with Kyrgyz Republic in an inconsequential final group match of the qualifying campaign in Bishkek on Tuesday.
Coached by Stephen Constantine, India are in the middle of a record 13-match unbeaten run.
At the pre-match press conference, Constantine has said that “regardless of our qualification, we’ll push for win”.
“We haven’t come here to lose,” he stressed.
“Our objective was to qualify to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and we have achieved our aim. From now on, it’s part of our preparation for the Asian Cup to be held next year,” he added.
India are currently at pole position in Group A with 13 points from five matches so far.
The last time the two teams met in Bengaluru, Sunil Chhetri’s sublime strike made the difference.
Constantine also dismissed speculations that the cold weather in Bishkek may play a crucial role.
“The weather is not playing any crucial part,” he clarified.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who was also present at the press conference stated that there “isn’t any added pressure”.
“Kyrgyz Republic are a very strong side. They recently won against Myanmar and have also qualified for the Asian Cup. We respect them as an opponent. We want to win and as coach said, the match is a part of our preparation,” he mentioned.
Constantine declared that “India will play for a win”.
“I always play to win and never to lose. When you represent the National Team you are never playing for a draw. The result might be a draw but we won’t play for a draw,” he quipped.
Gurpreet highlighted the importance of a solid back four which lays the bedrock for the success of any team.
“Not only us, every team needs a solid back line. We have conceded few and have been able to put pressure on our opponents. The plan worked for us. We’ll look forward to continue doing that,” he said.
Meanwhile, midfield general Eugeneson Lyngdoh took a trip down memory lane to recollect Chhetri’s “amazing world class” strike against Kyrgyz Republic in the first-leg in Bengaluru.
“The confidence of the team stood out. It was a very crucial match for us. We had gained a very hard-earned victory against Myanmar, that too in an away match and couldn’t let the momentum slip.
“We knew that if we could win against Kyrgyz Republic it would brighten our chances of making it to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. We vowed to play our part and fought like warriors. The win was so satisfying,” Eugeneson said.
First Published: Mar 27, 2018 10:12 IST