AFC Asian Cup

Constantine resigns after India's Asian Cup exit

India coach Stephen Constantine during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup
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  • Stephen Constantine resigns as India head coach
  • Comes after India narrowly missed out on Asian Cup Round of 16 place
  • "I’m sad to be leaving, the players and staff have been fantastic throughout"

Stephen Constantine has resigned as India head coach following the country’s exit from the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

The Blue Tigers suffered a defeat against Bahrain on Monday, the only goal of their Group A game coming from a Jamal Rashid injury-time penalty, which saw India drop from second to fourth and seal elimination.

The news comes just over a week after India recorded their first win at the AFC Asian Cup since 1964 – a 4-1 victory against Thailand in their tournament opener which was also their biggest in the competition’s history.

Back-to-back defeats to hosts United Arab Emirates and conceding against Bahrain in stoppage-time meant the Blue Tigers narrowly missed out on the knockout stage.

“We haven’t received any official communication from him yet but we accept his decision and thank him for his contribution,” said All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das.

London-born Constantine was in his second spell as India manager, returning to the country in 2015 after his 2002-05 stint. The former Millwall coach has also managed other international sides in the form of Nepal, Malawi, Sudan and Rwanda.

“My objective from day one was to qualify for the Asian Cup,” the 56-year-old told reporters after the match. “I’ve done that and I’m exceptionally proud of the players for everything they have given.

“I think my cycle has finished. I did what I was asked to and a little bit more and, after four years, it’s time to leave.

“I’m sad to be leaving, the players and staff have been fantastic throughout ... even those who failed to make the final squad.”

Hosts UAE topped Group A ahead of Thailand following their 1-1 draw. Both nations progressed to the knockouts while Bahrain also advanced as one of the best third-placed teams.

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