Anas fo­cussed on per­for­mance for na­tional at­ten­tion

Sunday Express - - SPORT - Mart­inj@newin­di­an­ex­

Anas Edathodika is ex­pected to play a cru­cial role for In­dia in the AFC Asia Cup 2019. How­ever, due to lack of game time with Blasters, there are doubts about his fu­ture with the na­tional team. Anas says that he has never con­sid­ered him­self to be an au­to­matic pick and is de­ter­mined to put his head down and fight for his spot. “I am a player who only started play­ing for In­dia at the age of 30. I have missed six matches. It might af­fect me or it might not. I have to fo­cus on my per­for­mance and get back on the pitch. The coach makes his se­lec­tions,” he said.

Re­sults have not gone their way de­spite some strong per­for­mances. They look to al­ter that trend against FC Goa who are in high spir­its after se­cur­ing a come­back win against Delhi Dy­namos. “I con­sider Ker­ala a di­rect ri­val. If we win, then that should leave us nine points clear of them,” FC Goa coach Ser­gio Lobera said.

Goa have lost only once in the league. How­ever, Singto feels that the free-scor­ing Goan side does have a chink in their ar­mour. “With due re­spect to Goa and as much as we know

that they are an at­tack­ing team, if you see their record, they do con­cede goals also,” Singto said. FC Goa have scored the high­est num­ber of goals in the league with 18 goals. Fer­ran Coromi­nas has six goals and Edu Be­dia has four as Lobera’s men have scored for fun so far. How­ever, they have kept only a sin­gle clean sheet so far and some feel that there is an over-re­liance on Coro. “He needs a team be­hind him to score the goals that he has been scor­ing,” Lobera said. Blasters will have to be at their de­fen­sive best against the likes of Coro and de­fender Anas Edathodika could play a cru­cial part in that. The In­dia in­ter­na­tional ar­rived at Blasters amidst a lot of fan­fare. How­ever, he hasn’t fea­tured in the six games so far. The Ker­ala de­fender had to serve a three-match sus­pen­sion which had been car­ried over from last sea­son.

Head coach David James didn’t pick him for the next three. How­ever, he could line up along­side com­pa­triot San­desh Jhin­gan on Sun­day. “I had to serve a 3-match ban and then the team had be­come al­most set de­fen­sively. But I am al­ways there for the team and the coach,” Anas said.

Meet­ings be­tween the two have never ended in a goal­less draw. And Singto knows that they have to start scor­ing more to win games. “It’s a ques­tion of cre­at­ing chances and scor­ing more goals. We have to start win­ning.”

Satur­day’s re­sult: ATK 1-0 FC Pune City

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