We were unlucky not to go all the way, says Subbaiah

We were unlucky not to go all the way, says Subbaiah

“The boys played really well throughout the tournament,” Subbaiah told Deccan Herald. “The entire team worked wonderfully well in unison.

While Prabhjot Singh and captain Amar Aiyamma were brilliant in attack, rising star SK Uthappa was top notch in central midfield, marshalling the resources along with Vikramkanth and Mohd Rafeeq almost like a seasoned professional.

“Drag-flicker VR Raghunath was impressive while Bharat Chetri was outstanding. He had a huge point to prove and has completely justified his status as one of the top goalkeepers in the country.

It was an extremely close contest between him and Uthappa for the player of the tournament awad, the medio pipping the custodian by a fraction.”

Karnataka were good throughout the tournament, losing their only match at the most inopportune time -- in Sunday’s final. After drubbing Assam 6-0 in their group opener, they crushed Rajasthan 14-1 before booking their spot in the quarterfinals with a facile 7-1 defeat of Chandigarh. In their last-eight battle against Air India, they came back from a goal down to win 2-1 in extra time and advanced to the final with a gritty 2-1 victory over heavyweights Punjab.

Despite creating numerous chances, the Aiyamma-led squad lacked the finishing touch, going down 1-2 to Haryana in a thrilling final.

“We were unlucky to lose the final. We had eight shots at goal and hit the post twice. On another day, they could have gone in. Things just didn’t go our way. Even in the dying moments, we had a couple of close chances but squandered them. However, credit must be given to Haryana for holding their nerve,” said Subbaiah.

The former India goalkeeper reserved special praise for SAI trainee Uthappa, who has caught the attention of the selectors. “The national team selectors and veteran Dilip Tirkey asked me ‘Where did you get this guy from’. He was consistently brilliant.

I am confident he will get a berth in the national camp and, if he continues to work hard and play consistently well, a place in the national team is there for the taking.”

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