Coach Stephen Constantine plays down India-Pakistan match hype in SAFF Cup
DHAKA: Indian football team coach Stephen Constantine feels the high-octane semi-final clash against Pakistan in the ongoing SAFF Cup, will be "just another match."
Courtesy India's back to back victories against Sri Lanka and the Maldives by an identical 2-0 margin, India booked a semi-final clash with Pakistan which will be played at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday.
"We are aware of the contest. But that is nothing different. It is just another match. We can't let the occasion get over us and hopefully, we will beat them to advance to the final," Constantine said.
The two sides last played an official match in September 2013 in Kathmandu, India emerging winners by a solitary goal on that occasion. Incidentally, Pakistan have qualified to the last-four of SAFF Suzuki Cup after 13 long years and they now clash with the seven-time champions.
Meanwhile, Constantine also lauded Nepal's achievements and expressed they were deserving entrants to the semis.
"Nepal have played some stupendous football and they have deservingly reached the semis. Hopefully, we get a win against Pakistan and face Nepal in the final," he maintained.
Nepal will play the Maldives in the other semi-final which is scheduled on the same day.
Meanwhile, Manvir Singh, declared as the 'Most Valuable Player' for his performance against the Maldives, stated his first international goal was his 'most delightful moment' as a footballer.
"Scoring for the country is always special. The first goal - it's a different emotion. I was sniffing around but the goal was eluding me," he quipped.
"So finally, when I made it, it was the most delightful moment for me as a footballer. The win has been a result of our team game and now we're looking forward to the semi-finals," Manvir added.