Coach plays down missed chances

On a day when India should have won their AFC Asian Cup qualifier tie against Kyrgyzstan by a handsome margin, it was the solitary goal by their skipper Sunil Chhetri that was the difference in the outcome at the Sree Kanteerava stadium.

Though chances were created aplenty as the game moved into later stages, the Indian forward line cut a sorry figure we the likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua, Jackichand Singh and Robin Singh making a mess of their opportunities in front of the goal.

Indian head coach Stephen Constantine said that he preferred to look at the positive side of the game. “Let’s not get greedy,” he reacted when a question regarding his misfiring forwards popped up at the post-match media interaction.

“If we get three points for that one goal, I will take that any day. I am extremely proud of the boys and the way they played. It was a team performance. We ran out of luck at times in the first half, but that’s football. I have a lot of faith in these players and they have proven that they are a very good team. We didn’t stop for a single second. We fought every minute of the tie. Yes, we missed chances. But 1-0 to India, I will take that any time.”

Though the misfiring forwards took the centrestage for a long phase of the tie, Chhetri’s sublime run around the hour mark silenced the critics as India extended their streak of unbeaten game to eight. And the head coach was all praise for his talisman.

“Sunil (Chhetri) made an unbelieveable run as he did in the last game (against Myanmar) along with Udanta (Singh). He’s still fit and has improved. I am pleased that I didn’t play him against Nepal (in the friendly last week). Maybe, he wouldn’t have made that run had he not been protected. Six points in the kitty, we can now take a breather. We need another six to qualify for (the Asian Cup in the) UAE,” the Englishman stated.

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