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

Indian football team players vie for the ball with UAE players at AFC Asian Cup

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

India went down to hosts United Arab Emirates 0-2 in their second group stage match after they had defeated Thailand in their opening game.

"We've finally got respect for Indian football, we've woken the sleeping giant".

Watch the highlights of the AFC Asian Cup encounter between India and UAE.

"When you have players who can do that, it becomes very easy for me to work on our strategies and game plans".

For the first time ever, twenty-four nations will compete in the pan-Asian competition instead of the usual sixteen.

"Tonight I played two wingers outside and a deeper striker".

One goal each in both the halves ensured that the hosts get to the top of the table with 4 points, while India dropped down to the second position in Group A.

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If those misses in the eighth and 23rd minute gave India the belief that they will be able to fight their fancied opponents, in coach Stephen Constantine's words, toe-to-toe, they also may have made the Blue Tigers a bit restless.

However, in the 41st minute, Khalfan Mubarak profited from an indecision by Indian defenders Anas Edathodika and Subhashish Bose who let Mubarak steal the ball from their grasps, make a darting run into the box and finish superbly from a really tight angle. "They were supposed to cheer for the UAE national team in their match against India in the AFC Asian Cup", the Attorney General was quoted as saying in a statement to the Dubai newspaper.

Until Mubarak's strike - his first for his country - the 2015 semi-finalists had been largely restricted to pot shots that threatened little but the fleets of luxury cars in the stadium parking lot. All three teams now have a good chance to qualify to the knockouts at the moment. If we could have taken our chances it could have been different.

"I need to get my players ready for the next game and my next job is to see how many are 100 per cent for the next game and how many need more recovery time". They are bitterly disappointed.

The Jordanians, who stunned Australia in their opening clash, took the lead in the 26th minute when Yousef Al-Rawashdeh's low cross met a finishing touch by Mousa Suleiman.

"Before, nobody believed in these players", added the Belgian. On hearing the workers scream India, the man tells them that's not good while hitting the wire with the stick.

Chanathip Songkrasin scored the only goal as the 25-year-old fired a thumping shot that rippled the net.

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