Stephen Constantine aiming to lead India to historic qualification in Asian Cup


In Group A, Chanathip Songkrasin scored the only goal as Thailand beat Bahrain 1-0 and United Arab Emirates beat India 2-0.

Following a 4-1 loss against India in their opening group match on Sunday, the Thais tried their best to turn things around under their newly appointed interim manager Sirisak Yodyadthai. They will also be assured of a finish in the top two of the group, with UAE (four points) meeting Thailand (three points) in Al Ain at the same time.

If India draw, then they must hope for UAE to either win or draw against Thailand to assure themselves of progress to the second round.

Abu Dhabi: Stressing that India has the potential to win and enter the knockouts, football coach Stephen Constantine on Friday said the team needs to get its act together ahead of the clash with Bahrain in the AFC Asian Cup.

It was an approach that paid dividends in the 58th minute as Tristan Do launched a cross into the Bahrain penalty box.

Chanathip came close to setting up Thailand's second when he picked out an unmarked Adisak Kraisorn but his effort hit the post.

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All eyes will be on Sunil Chhetri who single-handedly demolished a resolute Thailand defence in India's group opener by netting a superb brace. India next play Bahrain in their last group game on Monday.

Bahrain sentenced Al-Araibi to 10 years in prison in 2014 for allegedly vandalising a police station during Arab Spring protests in the nation.

The joy would have been short-lived for the home team had the talismanic Chhetri's attempt not missed the target by a whisker in the 43rd minute, this after the Indian captain had the UAE defenders in splits and managed to cut one through one of the gaps with Eisa noweher in the picture.

"FIFA is therefore calling on all the relevant authorities (in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia) to take the necessary steps to ensure that Mr Hakeem Al-Araibi is allowed to return safely to Australia where he can resume his career as a professional footballer". Thapa, the team's youngest member at 20, could not get there in time while Anas Edathodika and Jhingan also could not come in the way of Mubarak, who scored his first global goal.

In the 41st minute, UAE broke the deadlock against the run of play.

India captain Sunil Chhetri overtook Lionel Messi in worldwide goals as the Blue Tigers stunned Thailand 4-1 in their opening game to earn comparisons with Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli for his heroics.