Ahmedabad, July 15 (IANS) India would look to end their Intercontinental Cup campaign on a high when they take on Syria in the last league match of the competition here on Tuesday.
India are at the bottom of the points table after succumbing to two defeats against Tajikistan (2-4) and DPR Korea (2-5). Tajikistan are at the top with six points from two wins while Syria and North Korea have three points each.
India, who won the title last time, still have a mathematical chance of making it to the final provided Tajikistan beat DPR Korea in their last group league match, and India (GD -5) register a convincing victory against Syria (GD +1).
Defender Anas Edathodika, who came out of his international retirement, stated that the team was “working very hard” to clinch the three points.
Anas, who was summoned by coach Igor Stimac, however, isn’t in the final 23, but has been practicing with the rest of the squad in Ahmedabad.
“We really want to win the match against Syria,” Anas said at a media interaction, adding: “The coach is working with the players on an individual basis. He is talking to them one-by-one as we are gearing up for the game. The focus is on identifying the mistakes, working on them and rectifying them. I’m sure the players will give their best.”
He thanked the supporters in Ahmedabad for their continuous support over the two games, saying that the team wanted to win the third match “for the fans.”
“It’s a huge motivation for us, and a great sight to see a packed stadium. We are thankful for the support and hope to grab a victory,” he said.
Anas, who was part of the Indian side that lifted the Intercontinental Cup last year, maintained that the players were concerned at conceding soft goals.
“We have conceded some avoidable goals in the last two matches. It is a cause of concern for the players.
“Football is a team game. When we concede, it falls on the entire team, and when we score the credit goes to everyone. We have a different system under the new coach and it will take time to grow in to it,” he said.
The coach had previously spoken about using the Intercontinental Cup as a preparatory platform for the upcoming 2020 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.