Asian Cup 2019: Stephen Constantine

AFC Asian Cup 2019 India Eye Early Glory Against Lower Ranked Thailand

AFC Asian Cup 2019 India Eye Early Glory Against Lower Ranked Thailand

When Sunil Chhetri netted a superb brace on Sunday against Thailand in an AFC Asian Cup 2019 encounter, he surpassed Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi in the list of all-time top scorers in worldwide football.

Chhetri gave India the lead in the 27th minute from the penalty spot, but Thailand went into half-time on level terms through a 33rd-minute goal from Teerasil Dangda. India face hosts and group favourites UAE next on Thursday, 10 January. "Tomorrow morning, we train again", Constantine added.

"We came here to qualify and I think it's time we are no longer looking at India as we were", he said. "People got a taste of what we can do, today".

India go in to the next game at Zayed Sports City stadium knowing a win would be enough to send them through to the knockout stages.

Ranked 97th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association charts, India went into the match eyeing a win against their 118th ranked opponents, but the scoreline and impressive show by the players, especially in the second half, was unexpected.

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"We got here, we are a young team and we are very excited of the prospect of playing against all the teams".

"It's a tough pool when we started thinking, we felt that all the others were more experienced and better than us. No, but we're not getting carried away", insisted India coach Stephen Constantine.

"It is a cliché as it is just another match for us". The country won two matches and lost one in the 1964 edition in Israel, competed by just four countries, then lost three and drawn one in 1984 and were beaten in all their three group matches in 2011.

Thailand manager Milovan Rajevac was gracious in defeat, and has challenged his players to respond in their next game against Bahrain on Thursday.

"We may not be the most technical team but we will fight till the end, and that's what the boys showed", he maintained.

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