Manvir: India high on confidence ahead of UAE clash

The Indian national team will take on the United Arab Emirates in the second international friendly at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai later today. In their first friendly match against Oman last week, the Blue Tigers earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw after going behind through an own goal in the first half. The match saw as many as 10 Indian players make their debut for the national team after credible performances for their respective teams in the recently concluded Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21.

ATK Mohun Bagan striker Manvir Singh, whose goal restored parity in the second half against Oman, was all charged up ahead of the second friendly and told the AIFF that the squad was high on confidence and will take on the UAE with serious intentions. “…We are high on confidence after drawing against Oman. UAE are very comfortable with the ball. We are aware that despite the crowd not being there, the UAE will enjoy a psychological advantage as they will be playing at home. But it is not over till it is over.”

Manvir's sentiments were echoed by Hyderabad FC defender Chinglensana Singh, who was one of the debutants against Oman. "...Against UAE, we will play to win. We are confident as a group. We need to play our game and that can make a difference,” the 24-year-old defender said.

National coach Igor Stimac himself sounded optimistic ahead of the game, even though he acknowledged the UAE’s superiority. “…When you play against teams in the top 100, the difference of 25 to 30 spots in the rankings means a lot. There is still a big difference between the UAE and us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve the result,” said the 53-year-old Croat.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, who was a strong presence in goal against Oman and saved a penalty in the first half, was happy to see so many youngsters playing in India colours. “So many youngsters coming is such a healthy sign. Where else do you have 10 debutants playing an international friendly? These are signs of transition that define the sport in the country. And if you look back, all of them faced Oman in their first international match. That’s very meticulous planning. The experience will only make them better players,” the Mumbai City FC custodian said.

The match starts 8:30 pm IST.

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