The Italian tactician will be aiming to notch his side’s first victory in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
After drawing their first fixture against Group A opponents Bahrain, UAE will be hoping to get back to winning ways in their upcoming encounter against India. In their first group clash, The Whites didn’t have it all easy, until a late equalizer from Ahmed Khalil, two minutes away from regulation time got the much-required one point.
In their next clash, they face a confident looking India side, who cruised past Thailand with much ease, in a 1-4 victory. Talisman Sunil Chhetri scored a brace, with Anirudh Thapa and Jeje adding to the tally.
What should worry UAE is the tactical tweaks produced by Stephen Constantine in his side’s win over the War Elephants. The positioning of Ashique Kuruniyan in the attacking midfielder behind Sunil Chhetri was crucial to the Blue Tigers’ playing style in the final third.
Watch: UAE Vs Bahrain, Goals and Highlights
With a FIFA ranking of 79, UAE are the highest-ranked team in Group A and poses a difficult challenge for India. The hosts also have the likes of Ali Mabkhout and 2015 Asian Player of the Year Ahmed Khalil are goal-scorers with predatory instincts in the attacking third. Mabkhout is seven goals shy of becoming UAE’s all-time top scorer.
UAE will miss the services of the injured Omar Abdulrahman who is regarded as one of Asia’s best players, but Alberto Zaccheroni’s men have enough firepower to test Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in India’s goal.
UAE were held by Bahrain in their opening match and, in front of their home crowd, they will be eager to make amends. “What we lacked on the pitch was the fighting qualities from the players. We will address this when we are preparing for the next game against India and we’ll come with a different attitude,” said Zaccheroni.
He said, “We need to improve and hopefully produce a better performance.”
Khalil, who scored his side’s equalizer against Bahrain, said, “You have to give your maximum. You have to fight and work more and this is how we came back and we can do it for the next game. We go for three points and hopefully, we’ll come back.”