Abu Dhabi: Indian defender Anas Edathodika couldn’t hide his emotions after his side beat Thailand 4-1 in the AFC Asian Cup opener at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Sunday.
“The feeling is something I can’t express as we have never experienced some like this before in a big stage like this,” said Anas, adding that victory was the result of all the effort the team had put in over the last four years.
“We have been working on this for a long time as a unit. You don’t know when we will get an opportunity like this. We have kept improving in all the matches. Yes, we were a bit nervous in the first half but we executed our plans well in the second,” said Anas, citing that the team will be now all the more focused now that the morale is up.
“The confidence and the positive energy that we will do well was always there. The team was working hard only for this tournament. We played well even before to be here. We all wanted to make the most of it and create it as a historical moment,” said Anas, who is confident that the friendlies against Oman, Jordan and China would help them get across the UAE as well.
“Next match we have to focus more. the UAE is a strong team and the contest is going to be physically and technically very strong. Getting those friendlies against big teams was an achievement on its own. When you play such friendlies, the confidence level is different. You start believing that you can play against big teams and that is why we got this result against Thailand today.”
Halicharan Narzary, who set up Jeje Lalpekhlua with a measured through to slot home the fourth goal, accepted that the team surprised themselves.
“Yes, we didn’t expect to do so well and click so well as a unit straightaway but we were very confident going into the contest. We will now try to do our best as we are happy to get the result. First half was tough for us as we didn’t know much about their game position. In the second half, after the meeting we understood how they are playing. Basically, we realised they were trying to be very effective from the wings,” revealed Narzary.