India's young guns fired up to deliver against DPR Korea
India are slated to face off against DPR Korea at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad on Saturday in the second match of their Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 campaign. Having lost the opener against Tajikistan in heart-breaking fashion even after taking a 2-0 lead, the Blue Tigers will be desperate to carve out a positive result to put the disappointment of last Sunday's match behind them as soon as possible.
Central to India's bid for success will be a host of youngsters, who have come to the fore under new head coach Igor Stimac. With the crucial match against the North Koreans coming up, the resolute young guns are eager to deliver a win for the fans at the EKA Arena and all over India on Saturday.
Eighteen-year-old defender Narender Gahlot, who made his senior debut in the last match against Tajikistan seemed eager for another opportunity and promised to give it his all if given an opportunity against DPR Korea. "I did commit a few mistakes in the last match but my seniors didn't put me down. They kept motivating me saying that it's ok that you made mistakes as this is just your first game. I did learn a lot as a result. In life, you do make mistakes here and there. In the next match against DPR Korea, if I get a chance to play, I will give my 100% and won't make the same mistakes that I did in the last match," he said in an interview.
Recently-crowned AIFF Emerging Player of the Year Sahal Abdul Samad has been sensational in India colours whenever he has been on the pitch. In the last match against Tajikistan, Sahal was probably India's best player on the pitch alongside captain Sunil Chhetri. The youngster predicted a clash of similar footballing styles in Saturday's match and said, "We watched DPR Korea's match vs Syria. They didn't have more than three touches (on the ball). Just one-two touches. They were good at keeping the ball. We are also trying to play that brand of football. It will be a crucial match for us and for them too since they lost. We have to work on keeping possession. That's what our coach wants us to do."
Winger Udanta Singh, meanwhile, kept it simple and stressed the importance of putting on a team performance on Saturday, saying, "The coach wants to win. So, we will work hard. We want to win the next match (vs DPR Korea), so we lift our confidence again. We need to work hard together as a team in the next match. "
Amarjit Singh took the opportunity to issue a plea to the fans in Ahmedabad to get behind the team during Saturday's match. "I never expected that there would be such huge numbers to watch our game here in Ahmedabad. I'm sure they will come again in the next match to cheer us on," the youngster stated.
Brandon Fernandes didn't get an chance to feature in the opener against Tajikistan and will be looking for an opportunity to prove his worth against DPR Korea. "I think the next match against DPR Korea will be very crucial for us. We have to forget about the last match (against Tajikistan). We had a very good first half. So, I think we have to build on that first-half and take the positives out of it. Going into the second match, we have to go with a positive mind and try to win it," the 24-year-old remarked.
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