The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No pressure versus Pak today: Debjit

Calcutta: The pressure of going into a match pitting India against Pakistan is not playing on the minds of defending champions India at all, claims captain Debjit Ghosh on the eve of their SAFF Cup-opener against the historical rivals in Dhaka Friday.

“It’s just like another game. Pakistan being the opponents doesn’t make it any special. We know we are the favourites in this tourney and have to live up to the billing. Doesn’t matter who the rivals are,” Debjit told The Telegraph from Dhaka Thursday evening.

“We expect a tough fight. The Pakistanis look good physically and the weather here hasn’t been too good either. But then, there is no extra pressure on us just because of the fact that it’s an India-Pakistan clash.”

India’s other matches in the group phase are against Afghanistan (January 12) and Sri Lanka (January 14), and the skipper reckons each encounter to be equally important.

“Things are looking good in our football after the LG Cup triumph and a decent outing at the Asian Games.

This means we have to win this meet to establish our advent as a force in regional football. It will serve as a confidence-booster,” said a player.

India are without a few frontliners and that, according to some senior players, might just make things difficult to an extent. “We expect a tough fight, but still, there will be no excuses if we don’t deliver.”

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