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India Gear up to Play Oman Behind Closed Doors as Prep for AFC Asian Cup

A day prior to the match at the Baniyas Stadium, India's head coach Stephen Constantine stressed they "haven't come here expecting to play easy games".

PTI

Updated:December 26, 2018, 4:16 PM IST
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India Gear up to Play Oman Behind Closed Doors as Prep for AFC Asian Cup
Image: AIFF
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Abu Dhabi: In an attempt to not reveal their tactics, India and Oman will play behind closed doors their final international friendly before the AFC Asian Cup, here Thursday.

A day prior to the match at the Baniyas Stadium, India's head coach Stephen Constantine stressed they "haven't come here expecting to play easy games".

The match is part of Blue Tigers' preparation for the forthcoming Asian Cup. Both the head coaches have decided on playing behind closed doors, the result of which there won't be any telecast of the match and the crowd and media will be missing from the stands.

India begin their campaign in the Asian Cup against Thailand on January 6.

Commenting on the match against Oman, Constantine stated: "It's going to be extremely hard. We have come here to play the big boys of Asia. We played against the likes of Jordan, China. We need to play these sort of games to prepare in the best possible fashion."

India last played Oman in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifiers twice, with Oman winning on both occasions.

"We were very unlucky to lose the first leg in Bengaluru," Constantine reflected. "That was our first group stage game in the qualifiers. But we are a much improved side now, and much younger."

Central midfielder Pronay Halder, who wasn't part of the squad in the first-leg in Bengaluru concurred with his coach.

"We have matured a lot since then. Our organisation on the field is much better compared to what we were in 2015," he said.

India have been the first team to land in Abu Dhabi for the Asian Cup.

"The facilities have been superb and it has been going on according to the plan so far. We have done our homework as well," Constantine insisted.

In the continental showpiece, India are looking to improve on their showing from the last time they took part in the tournament, in the 2011 edition, when they suffered three heavy defeats for a group stage-exit.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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