AFC Asian Cup: Playing higher-ranked teams has given India confidence, says Jo Paul Ancheri

Jo Paul Ancheri
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The former India international praised the football that India played against Thailand and hailed Ashique Kuruniyan's influence...

Former India international Jo Paul Ancheri heaped praise on the Indian players following their 4-1 win against Thailand in the Group A opener at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup on Sunday. 

Sunil Chhetri scored a brace before Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua scored to seal the deal for the Blue Tigers. The former Mohun Bagan player commended the team's chemistry, teamwork and also reserved special praise for Ashique Kuruniyan's influcence on the game in his first ever appearance on the continental stage.

"It is a very good win in the Asian Cup after so many years. We could not win last time around. This time, we won the first match. The performances of all the players were excellent. Their chemistry and teamwork worked out perfectly," Ancheri told Goal.

India vs Thailand Defence

He added, "The only mistake was the goal conceded from the free-kick. After that, in the second half particularly, India played really well."

The Keralite felt that the change in approach by Constantine, with India having taken the the game to Thailand especially in the second half, worked wonders for the whole squad.

"Constantine played 4-2-3-1 in the friendlies and India had played defensive football. But against Thailand, the team played attacking football and we scored goals. Ashique's influence resulted in the penalty. "

Jo Paul Ancheri believes fixtures against higher-ranked nations allowed India to develop a fearless attitude on the pitch.

"India played well against sides ranked higher than them and that has given them confidence to play how they played against Thailand. The team looked very confident. It is not a small thing to win 4-1 against a team like Thailand."