After demolishing Thailand in the first match of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, India will be up against the mighty hosts UAE in their second Group A fixture.
Sunil Chhetri who scored two crucial goals against Thailand to fire India to a thumping 4-1 victory over the War Elephants, will be captaining the side against UAE on Thursday at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
He also became the second highest active goal-scorer in international football taking his tally to 67, which is two more than Lionel Messi.
Despite being a lowe ranked team, Thailand were not expected to be an easy opponent for the Blue Tigers. Their important players such as Teerasil Dangda and Chanathip Songkrasin returned to the Thailand side after the 2018 AFF Championship where they scored 17 goals in six matches.
They had rejected the Indian proposal for a practice match citing China would be a better team for them to play and the Blue Tigers gave them a perfect reply with their brilliant performance. However, the road ahead is not easy as UAE will prove to be a dangerous opponent.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is placed 18 places higher than India in the FIFA World Rankings and in terms of achievement in the sport, UAE have enormous achievement that India have never done – qualifying or the FIFA World Cup (in 1990).
In addition to that, UAE has been regularly playing in the AFC Asian Cup tournament while India got their first win in the tournament after long 55 years.
But after a considerable victory in the first fixture after 55 years the team’s confidence is quite high and Indian football coach Stephen Constantine issued a huge statement to ESPN after the match by saying “We’ve finally got respect for Indian football, we’ve woken the sleeping giant. It was dead and buried four years ago”.
Heat To Head
In the last 13 meetings between the two teams, UAE have proven to be a superior team with 8 wins, 2 Loses and three matches ended in draw.
The last time they met was in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in 2011 when the contest ended in a 2-2 scoreline.
The AFC Asian Cup 2019 match between India and UAE will be played on January 10, 21:30 hrs (IST). The match will telecast on the Star Sports network and live streaming will be available on Hotstar.
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