Fan support vital for India against Iran in AFC U-16 Cup match: Coutinho

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Margao Sep 20 (IANS) Former India football captain Bruno Coutinho on Tuesday sought local support when the hosts play in a must-win match against Iran in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup U-16 Championship here on Wednesday.

India are presently third in Group A with just a point after two matches, Iran have four from as many matches.

The top two of the four-team group advances to the knockout stage, thereby making a win imperative for the home team to move ahead in the competition.

India began with a 2-3 loss against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but improved to force a 3-3 draw against Saudi Arabia.

The 3-3 Saudi match was attended by more than 4,000 spectators, the highest attendance at the continental youth competition since 2010, according to an All India Football Federation (AIFF) release on Tuesday.

“We need to be there to back them. Undoubtedly, it’s going to be an exciting match and a full house will give the boys added motivation,” Coutinho was quoted as saying by on Tuesday.

“It’s going to lure more and more football-loving crowd to the stadium to enjoy the match. It was really necessary to make the Goan people know what’s happening in their city right now,” he added.

Coutinho said a positive attitude with the belief to beat a strong Iran team should be important for a favourable result.

“Every day starts afresh. No team is unbeatable. If the boys play to their potential they can have the last laugh.”

The 16-team tournament started on September 15 and will stretch till October 2.



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