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Gurpreet rues what could have been for India

Friday, January 11, 2019

Abu Dhabi: Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been quick to reflect on what could have been for India in the wake of their narrow 2-0 loss to host nation the United Arab Emirates at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 on Thursday.

Chances came and went for India on a night when goals from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Mabkhout left a talented Indian side with plenty to ponder following their earlier success against Thailand.

"I am proud of the boys, I don't think people would have expected we could have performed the way we did against the UAE. We were very unlucky and could have scored two or three goals,” declared the JSW Bengaluru custodian.

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"We had to be strong, we could not sit back and hit them with counter attacks, we wanted to press them and make sure they made mistakes.

“We had chances but unfortunately we couldn't score. Even in the second half we struck the bar and the post, but that is something which happens in football. If we had scored from the chances we had, then it could have been a different game both physically and mentally.”

Despite the result, which saw India slip to second in the Group A standings, Stephen Constantine’s charges remain well and truly in contention for a place in the knockout phase, with Gurpreet adamant that the South Asians have learned valuable lessons ahead of their crucial final group stage game against Bahrain.

“We have to keep our chin up and make sure we perform in the last game against Bahrain,” he said.

"It is disappointing to not have clean sheets in the Asian Cup so far. The manner in which we conceded was quite extraordinary. [Going forward] we need to ensure that we don't concede goals like that again,”

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