Asian Cup 2019: Renedy Singh - Even a draw against UAE a great result

The former national team player wants India to continue the second half form against Thailand into the game against UAE...

A swashbuckling win in the opening game against Thailand has given India a major shot in the arm for qualifying past the first round of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.

Next stand UAE and a veteran of India's 2011 Asian Cup squad, Renedy Singh believes things will get only tougher from hereon as the hosts look to come hard after only a 1-1 draw with Bahrain.

"Bahrain was the better team against UAE. They managed to draw with a controversial penalty but Bahrain was the better team. Japan, South Korea, Iran and Australia are the giants but it is nice to see how the developing nations are punching above their weight. The gap is becoming less," he told Goal.

The 39-year-old added, "Coming back to UAE, we had won against them in a World Cup qualifier and lost in the penalties. Moreover, Bhaichung (Bhutia) got a red card and we were down to ten men. With all the exposure and facilities that they have now the team should do well. The current crop of players is far more tactical than we were. On Thursday, we should be at least able to get a draw."

The player-turned-television pundit was impressed with the way Stephen Constantine's men conducted themselves in the second half against Thailand, going to win 4-1 after being 1-1 at the break. He said, "India should look at the positives from the second half against Thailand and try to carry them against UAE. After Sunil's goal, the team looked more confident. They started believing in themselves. Like everything started going right from that moment.

"In the first half we couldn't do much other than the penalty but it was a completely different match. The defenders were holding on to the ball a little bit more and it helped. Udanta (Singh) and Ashique (Kuruniyan) were brilliant in the second half. Even the central midfielder (Pronay Halder) took his game a notch higher."

India vs Thailand Ashique Kuruniyan

There were more praises in store for Ashqiue who impressed one and all with his dominant display. "Ashique has done well. He was good in the international friendlies as well. But I think the whole team clicked in the second half. But if Balwant also comes on I think we will not do bad. We should stay compact and wait for the right time to launch a counter," opined the Manipur-born.

On being asked what should India' blueprint for success at the Zayed Sports City Stadium be, Renedy replied, "Even a draw will be a great result for us. And I am sure that they will come all out tomorrow. When they come all out tomorrow it will lead to spaces at the back. We have fast wingers who can take full advantage of that. If we can score one goal against UAE then it will be worse for them

"But we shouldn't defend very deep as well. Then it will be a long way while we are countering. It is working pretty well or us now. Although UAE was not in great form against Bahrain when you are playing against the home side it will be difficult. But if we continue our second half form it will be good," he concluded.