Unlucky India went down 0-2 against UAE in their second match of Group ‘A’ in the Asian Cup 2019 on Thursday at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The Blue Tigers struck the crossbar twice in the second half and forced couple of good saves from the UAE goalkeeper earlier but were punished for momentary lapses in cocnentration by the home team.
Speaking after the defeat, India head coach Stephen Constantine said: “Congratulations to UAE for their win. I think we created enough chances, especially in the first half, to have won two games, not just one game. The problem is, when you don't convert them, they tend to come back (at you) and you pay for it. Last game, we converted them. But in this game, we didn’t. UAE had three shots on goal and one hit the post. I think we deserved a draw from this game but again, if you don’t convert your chances, you will pay.
He further added, “The boys gave absolutely everything. Two or three of them ran themselves to the ground which is usual for us. I thought that we did not convert and we paid. There were a couple of chances we should have scored.
"I have 23 bitterly disappointed boys and you couldn’t say that a few years ago. We would have come here, lost 2-0 and been quite happy. They are bitterly disappointed; they know that we could have taken something from this game. We have another game and we look forward to that, hope that we can convert the chances we make.”
Constantine also revealed why he replaced Udanta Singh in the final few minutes of the match and fielded Jackichand Singh on the right flank.
“He (Udanta Singh) was one of those boys who covered quite a few kilometres. He was looking jaded. He does not have an injury. We thought Jackichand could give us a little bit of a spark down that side,” said the British coach.”
On India being a real force in the competition this time, Stephen suggested, “Many of the UAE players were coming up to me and saying 'you guys were good (against Thailand) and that's nice but at the end of the day we lost. We will pick ourselves up tomorrow and get ready for the next game.”
The gaffer, however, was not impressed at the manner in which India conceded the two goals: “The first goal wasn't a dribble. The ball should have been knocked out, end of. The second goal, we could have done a bit better.”