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India 1-0 Kyrgyz Republic: Constantine hails 'magnificient' boys in blue

Goal.com logo Goal.com 13-06-2017

A delighted Stephen Constantine spoke to the press after his team came out 1-0 victors against a wasteful Kyrgyzstan outfit in Bangalore on Tuesday. Speaking of the game in which there were plenty of opportunities for both sides to score, the coach dismissed the wasted chances and credited the performance of the boys in blue.

"Let’s not get greedy. Credit goes to the boys as it was absolutely a team performance from the beginning to end. We rode our luck in the first half. Chhetri made an unbelievable run just like he did in Myanmar. He is still fit and I have to thank the medical staff who got him in the position where he is today. Pleased that I didn’t play him against Nepal and maybe he couldn’t have made that run had he not been protected. I am pleased for all Indians. Six points and now take a breather, need another 6 I guess."

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After a goalless first half, the coach felt the need to tell his boys exactly what he thought at the break. "I told they were better in the first 45 minutes. I have a lot of faith in the players and yet again we proved. I knew they were a very good team and it was a difficult game but we didn’t stop for a minute. 1-0 and I will take that everytime."

Speaking about the decision to replace Rowlin Borges with Rafique, the coach said "As you know, Borges has 8 stitches in his head and his ability on the ball is unbelievable. He wasn’t 100 per cent fit. He was brave to play today. We needed to change in midfield. Rafique did a tremendous job after coming on."

The win was India's eighth on the trot and once again, it was the skipper who lead from the front with a fantastic goal. "Always the last goal is the most important. As Sunil said, for us to be six points and top of the table, we still have a long way to go. Macau lost today which is irrelevant to us. Let’s not make the same mistake as we did in Guam. No one lies down these days. We can enjoy this moment and I am extremely proud of the players."

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Constantine also reserved special praise for the management. "All the people in the AIFF building right from logistics, medical staff. Kishore (Taid) and most importantly, the general secretary and Praful Patel as they let me do what I want do with a reason. I am very happy. India deserves this and it’s about bloody time" he said.

Up next in line to receive praise were his players, whom the coach termed as 'magnificient'. "You saw some of the tackles coming in from them and we didn’t retaliate. We played very smart. These boys are magnificent. They really are. They deserved this." said a delighted Constantine. "I am not someone to looks at the records. This is phenomenal at any level with 13 wins out of 15 games. But especially the boys."

Sunil Chhetri: This is by far one of the best games I've played in my career

The importaning thing, according to the coach, was the fact that India won the game as a team. Football after all, is a team game.

"We defend as a team. The entire 11 and Gurpreet made unbelievable saves. Players working their socks off to make sure we are compact. They had chances, we didn’t stop and played and won as a team." he concluded.

The win against Kyrgyzstan takes India to the top of their Group in Asian Cup qualifcation.

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