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Stephen Constantine dedicates win to a 'team performance'

Written by: Sourav Neogi

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The India manager praised his team's tenacity after a hard fought win against the Central Asians in Bengaluru...

The Indian head coach Stephen Constantine appeared in the post-match press conference after his team defeated Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in an Asian Cup qualifier match in Bengaluru tonight.

Constantine started the conference in a light manner when he was asked if he feels the Indian team could have scored more, to which he replied with a smile, “let’s not get greedy.”

He went on to say, “We got three points, I will take that any day,” the Indian gaffer said before adding, “It was an absolute team performance.”

With the win over Kyrgyzstan, India have now climbed to the top of the table in their respective group in the Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers.

“Six points. We need another six points to be sure,” the Englishman said, pointing out the necessary means to qualify for the continental competition in 2019.

The Indian captain, Sunil Chhetri who scored the only goal of the match and received the Hero of the Match award, accompanied Stephen Constantine to the press conference. 

Sunil Chhetri termed this as 'by far the best performance by the Indian Team' in a long time. In the post-match press conference, he stated, "I'm part of the National team for last 12 years and believe me, it's by far the best performance by us in a long time. After getting battered by our coach at the half-time, we bounced back and showed our potential to snatch the win."

He added more, "It was a crucial match for us and we proved ourselves. We are on a good run and hopefully, we'll continue that."

When asked about the winning goal Indian Captain said, ''I got the tackle first time, I could have taken a tumble but I told myself ‘don’t fall’. I got a tackle the second time, I told myself ‘don’t fall’. Later, I gave it to Jeje (Lalpekhlua), and got a good ball and scored. It was a good feeling. However, after 30 seconds of the celebration, I looked at the clock and told every player and the game isn’t over,'' he explained.

The visitors started the game brightly, dominating the midfield and creating several chances in the first half but could not convert any of them into a goal after their star striker Anton Zemlianukhin was substituted with an injury in the first minute of the match.

India close in on Asian dream with their second win in 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers. Click here to read match report and watch highlights

“They (Kyrgyzstan) were better in the first 25 minutes,” admitted Constantine in front of the reporters. However, the coach also praised his team for their performance in the later minutes which allowed them to score a goal and win the match, “And yet again, they (India) proved that they are a very good team,”

"Right from Gurpreeet to Sunil at the upfront- everyone played their part to snatch this result. The midfield, defence showd upto their potential. We knew that this match was not to be an easy one, but at the end of the day, I'm happy with the win and hopefully, we'll take it forward when we travel to Macau." added Constantine

He maintained, "It's not that we're through already, but yes, this win puts us in a comfortable position."

The Indian midfield which consisted of Eugenson Lyngdoh and Rowlin Borges held their own against their Kyrgyz counterparts several times in the physical battle to dominate the centre of the park. However, Borges was later taken off and was replaced by Mohamed Rafique who added a dfferent dimension to the game.

The coach was asked about Borges who made way for Rafique in the second half. “Well as you know Borges has eight stitches in his head. He trained with it twice before the game,” he said before adding, “It’s unbelievable.” “He wasn’t a 100% today,” he also revealed.

India will play Macau in their next Asian Cup Quaflier game on 5th September.

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Published: Wed Jun 14, 2017 02:13 AM IST

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