AFC Asian Cup 2019: We're not getting carried away, says Constantine

India got its AFC Asian Cup campaign off to a positive start with a 4-1 win against Thailand but head coach Stephen Constantine feels it's important for the players to keep their feet on the ground.

The Indians began the game with plenty of attacking intent and constantly pressed for the ball – not allowing Thailand any time to settle down or find a rhythm.   -  afp

India stormed to the top of Group A after a 4-1 drubbing of Thailand in its opening clash of the AFC Asian Cup on Sunday. The victory marked India's first win in the competition since 1964.

The ever-dependable Sunil Chhetri was the star of the evening as he netted twice to take his international tally to 67 and go past Lionel Messi, becoming the second highest goalscorer among active footballers.

AFC Asian Cup, India vs Thailand: As it happened

The Indians began the game with plenty of attacking intent and constantly pressed for the ball – not allowing Thailand any time to settle down or find a rhythm.

And coach Stephen Constantine, who had said before the match that his team would look to play more attacking football, was pleased with their performance.

“Sometimes we start a little slow due to nerves or because we're trying to settle into the game. The important thing is to not concede a goal in the opening 20 minutes. How you start is how you finish and we finished quickly, so it was good. I'm delighted with the performance,” he said post the game.

India drew first blood via Chhetri in the 26th minute, but the lead lasted only seven minutes as Thailand captain Teerasil Dangda equalised with a header.

REPORT| Chhetri scores brace as India stuns Thailand 4-1

However, the Indians went 2-1 up in the first minute of the second half and called the shots thereafter.

“We took the lead in what was an evenly contested first half. We gave the ball away too much in the opening half and made some small adjustments at halftime.

“We tried to be more organised in the second half and the early goal helped and Thailand were on the back foot after that,” Constantine noted. 

Just another result

The Englishman felt the victory gave a sense of what this Indian side has to offer. “People got a good look today at what we're capable of. We're a young and fit side and were running until the last minute.”

Commenting on the victory, which is the side's biggest win at the Asian Cup in 55 years, he said, “It may sound cliched but it's just another result. We're at the Asian Cup and that's a big deal in itself. We're not getting carried away, we have won a game and there are two more games left. We need at least another two points to have hopes of qualifying.”

The Indians will next face host nation United Arab Emirates at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium on January 10.

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