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Gurpreet Singh Sandhu not taking rivals lightly

‘Every draw in modern-day football is tricky’
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
File Photo

Our Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 03.06.22, 01:40 AM

India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu does not want to belittle the lower-ranked opponents in the upcoming final round of the Asian Cup qualifiers and said the hosts have to be “respectful as well as ruthless” when they kick off their campaign on June 8.

Clubbed with lower-ranked opponents in Hong Kong (147), Afghanistan (150) and Cambodia (171), world No. 106 India are the favourites to make the cut for the 2023 Asian Cup main tournament from group D.

“Every draw in modern-day football is tricky. We need to be respectful towards our opponents,” the 30-year-old Gurpreet told the AIFF website.

“Obviously they have also been preparing for these three matches and it’s understandable that they have done their homework much like us.

“We can’t take anyone lightly not at this stage because the stakes are high. Even as much as we need to respect the teams we play, we need to be ruthless in our approach.”

After kicking off their campaign against Cambodia, India next take on Afghanistan (June 11) and Hong Kong (June 14).

“We need to make sure we go out there to get the result. I believe we should be the one team that earns a ticket to the Asian Cup from this group,” Gurpreet said.

“It is that place where we want to be again and again every four years. It’s a stepping stone for us. If we do well in the Asian Cup, there are more chances of us doing better at the World Cup qualifiers,” he said.

Gurpreet fondly remembers their 4-1 win over Thailand in the last edition of the main tournament.

“Hopefully, we can recreate those moments again. In 2019 I was still one of the youngsters but now I am not.”

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