AN EXCITED SUNIL CHHETRI kept his cool as he hurried past the assembled media in the mixed zone towards the team bus.
Stopping for a moment to respond to the historic 4-1 victory over Thailand, first match India have won in Asian Cup since 1964, Sunil said the high skill level of Thai players presented the biggest challenge for the Blue Tigers,
"If you let Thailand pass, they'll pass for 180 minutes and you won't touch the ball... we just wanted to be brave and press high."
Considering the bigger picture, this is a good but small start. But I'll talk about just this game - it was bloody brilliant to be a part of the way my team went about things. And it's even more special knowing we made a country happy, even if it is only for a day.🙏🙏
When asked what changed in the second half that led to India dominating the game, Sunil replied,
"I said we've got to press high. You can't allow them to pass. You saw in the 25th or 30th minute, when they were passing, you couldn't touch them!... They'll keep coming, they'll keep attacking and nothing. So we'd rather just go and be brave."
It was unity and team spirit that got India the win, the striker said,
"When you have the whole team being brave, that's what happens. Sometimes it doesn't work because the other team's better, but on this day it worked and I just hope it continues."
Sunil scored twice in the game, taking his total Asian Cup goal tally to 4. And he can't wait to take on the next challenge,
"I just got a knock. We'll check it now. But even with one leg I wanna play the UAE game."