India football team coach Stephen Constantine praised the fighting spirit of his team following a hard fought 1-0 win against Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying campaign here on Tuesday.
Star striker Sunil Chhetri scored in the 90th minute as India registered their first away win against Myanmar in 64 years.
“Myanmar had several chances to score, but we showed great spirit on the field today. We never gave up mentally and that aided us in our win,” Constantine said after the match.
“We had three to four chances in the match, but we could only take the one in the end. It was a very tight game and the boys showed fantastic spirit to earn the win.”
Substitute Udanta Singh brushed aside his marker in the 90th minute and raced off towards Myanmar’s defending half.
With tired legs and perhaps aching muscles, skipper Chhetri followed Udanta’s run and tapped Udanta’s cross home first-time to hand India the lead.
India had earlier in the match created as many as four clear goal scoring opportunities, the best of which came to Jackichand Singh in the 31st minute but he failed to find the net from handshaking distance.
“Football is all about taking your chances. We took ours and they (Myanmar) did not take theirs. The credit goes to Myanmar for making it tough for us to play,” Constantine stated.
“Any coach makes substitution to try and change the game and our substitutions were brilliant on the field today. They really did the work for us,” he added.
India’s next match will be on June 1 then they host Kyrgyztan in their second engagement match of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying campaign.
“This win (against Myanmar) does not matter much. We still have to take six points to be able to secure qualification to the final of the AFC Asian Cup 2019,” Constantine said. – IANS
“India can defeat anybody on their day, but the job is still far from done. We have to stay focused and concentrate on the next game.”