AFC Asian Cup 2019: After a comprehensive 4-1 victory against Thailand in the first league match of the ongoing AFC Asian Cup, Indian defender Pritam Kotal feels that India are well-prepared to take on hosts UAE in their next match. Kotal, who played a stellar role as a right wing-back for India keeping Thailand’s Chanathip Songskrasin quiet in the previous game, said that the team has made specific plans for the hosts. Also Read - ISL 2020/21: Cleiton Silva, Sunil Chhetri score as Bengaluru condemn Odisha to 5th defeat
“We have our plans for the UAE game. You will be able to see them while we implement it on the pitch. They are a very good side. We have a lot of respect for them. But we are ready to give it a real fight,” Kotal said. Also Read - ISL 2020-21: Sunil Chhetri's Penalty Strike Gives Bengaluru FC First Win of Season
When asked if India views UAE as their toughest opponents in the group stage, Kotal expressed “every match is a difficult one.”‘ Also Read - ISL 2020-21 Highlights FCG vs BFC: Angulo's Brace Guides FC Goa to 2-2 draw against Bengaluru FC
“You can’t really say which match is tough. Before the Thailand game, would anybody have said that it was going to be easy? Every match is tough. We expect UAE to be a tough game too. They are the hosts. We have to fight in every game and aim to take three points,” he stated.
The Indian defence played a key role in keeping the Thai attackers at bay in their last game, and Kotal believes that the back-four has good chemistry between themselves.
“Our back four have been playing together for some time now. That has built up our understanding, and the chemistry. We always talk to each other, tell each other where to position ourselves, whom to mark. This has obviously improved since we have been playing together for some time,” he said.
India are slated to take on UAE in their second match of the Asian Cup on January 10 at the Sheikh Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
(With ANI Inputs)