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Stephen Constantine aiming to lead India to historic qualification in Asian Cup

12 January 2019

Arabic football blog Ahdaaf and podcast The Asian Game both tweeted the German had been axed by Syria after his side's 2-0 defeat to Jordan in Al Ain.

Having won their first match, India - in group A with UAE, Thailand, and Bahrain - are still one of the firm favourites to make it to the next round of the tournament.

Stephen Constantine has reinvigorated the Indian team with a lot of energy and counter-attacking strategy.

After 20 minutes, if we compare the average position of the players of the two sides, UAE only had two players in the Indian half compared to India's seven in the other half.

The Mizoram-born player felt India were unlucky to lose to UAE.

"Initially, I think, nobody expected us to be here", Constantine told ITV London. We all hoped to win to satisfy the fans. UAE went into the break with a 0-1 lead thanks to the strike from Mubarak in the 41st minute.

UAE striker Ali Mabkhout, right, in action againt India.

Luck deserted the away side as Udanta Singh's drive rebounded off the crossbar only to bounce out and fall harmlessly to an UAE defender before Jeje Lalpekhlua's volley flew inches away from the angle of the goal.

India again hit the woodwork in stoppage time, this time through Sandesh Jhingan as their chance of leaving a mark on the game they bossed for large periods had passed. If we could have taken our chances it could have been different.

Tempers flared when Jehad Al-Baour pulled back Suleiman during play and a shoving match developed on the touchline, egged on by the crowd. "We have our plans for the UAE game".

UAE fans wave their flags before the game.

When asked whether the Blue Tigers view UAE as their toughest opponents in the group stage, Kotal said: "Before the Thailand game, would anybody have said that it was going to be easy? This is how football is sometimes and we must react in the next game and try and get a result to see us through", Chhetri added. It will also suit India better as they will be the automatic table toppers from the group.

India surprised many with their opening game win.

Stephen Constantine aiming to lead India to historic qualification in Asian Cup