Asian Cup 2019: Miroslav Soukup - India were thinking too much about a draw

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The Bahrain coach was happy to make it to the round of 16 of Asian Cup 2019 from a very tough group...

Jamal Rashed’s 90th-minute strike from the penalty spot helped Bahrain beat India 1-0 in their final match of Asian Cup 2019 Group A and qualify for the round of 16.

After winning the tie in dramatic fashion, Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup said, “We knew India's style, they are a good team with a strong counter-attack and we were ready for that. I hoped that one move was enough to win the game for us on the counter.

"Our boys played according to the plan and we didn't give them much space. We played an amazing game and created many chances. We felt that if we play stronger, then we can win. We trusted till the last minute and we scored.”

Soukup mentioned that India’s strategy to play long balls worked in Bahrain's favour.

He said, “When I saw they did not have number 7 (Anirudh Thapa) on the list and had number 17 (Rowllin Borges), that meant they are playing two number sixes (defensive midfielders). It shows they wanted to play on the long ball and counter attacks.

PS India v Bahrain

“Later on, we had an advantage as we put in an extra midfielder for offensive work. It was also an advantage for us because India were thinking too much about a draw.

"Our team was faster and stronger in the challenges and tested their defence. But also, I want to pay respects to the Indian defenders and the goalkeeper. They made it difficult for us to score.”

The Bahrain coach suggested that it was never an easy group to qualify from and that they made it the harder way.

He said, “Everybody thought it was an easy group but no. India could have won the group because they have ten professional teams in their domestic league that we don't have. We knew the quality of Thailand and UAE are the hosts. We had to take the hard way out to qualify from the group.”