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Myanmar game first step to India’s Asian Cup preparation: Stephen Constantine

India head coach Stephen Constantine believes the AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Myanmar will serve as a preparation for the main tournament in 2019

football Updated: Nov 13, 2017 22:44 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Margao
Indian football,Indian football team,Stephen Constantine
Stephen Constantine (L) is keen to start India’s preparations for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.(AFP/Getty Images)

Seeking to continue its unbeaten run, Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine today said the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Myanmar is the first step to the 2019 continental showpiece’s preparation.

“This match is the first step to Asian Cup’s preparation which is precisely 14 months away,” he said at the official pre-match press conference at the JLN Stadium here.

Having won the first game 1-0, India play Myanmar in the return leg tomorrow.

“The match allows us the opportunity to test the depth of our squad. Obviously, we are looking forward to it,” he maintained.

Constantine showed huge respect for the visitors and said that it can be “anyone’s game”.

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“Myanmar are a very disciplined side. The coach is there for eight long years and he follows a similar system. We had a torrid time in Myanmar.”

Skipper Chhetri, whose stoppage time goal in the first leg ended a 64-year long wait to register a win in Myanmar, said, “I admit that they had a lot of ball possession. They kept us under tremendous pressure throughout. But at the end of the day, we took all three points.

“I will any day take three points at the end, no matter who has more ball possession.”

Referring to the Myanmar coach’s comments that he’s ready to provide Chhetri with a Myanmar passport, he quipped: “Let’s not take away the credit from our defenders. As I remember we defended for most of the time and they carried out the job with utmost precision.

“If he hands me a Myanmar passport, it is to be given to the defenders, Jeje, Udanta too.”

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 22:44 IST