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September 17, 2000
Room to improve, says BhaskaranJaideep Singh in Sydney
Coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran professed himself satisfied with the result of India's Olympic Games opening group match against Argentina, but said the side’s defence could do with some improvement.
He has a point -- Argentina forced 9 penalty corners to India's five, in course of the game.
"I’m quite happy with the result as well as the margin of victory," Bhaskaran said. "But the defence again showed problems and the combination took time to settle down and that wasn’t a comforting thought.
"All the three goals were scintillating," the Indian coach enthused.
"We settled down after scoring the first goal and what was important was that we got the key goal from a penalty corner. The tide turned from that moment."
The team began slowly, taking its own time to settle down, but Bhaskaran made light of the problems in this regard.
"The significant thing is that the team’s mental strength will increase after this win and we are looking forward to Tuesday’s match against Australia. That is going to be the key game for us."
Bhaskaran said the team will have to work out the strategies afresh for every game.
"Look, Argentina did not know out plans but were still marking (Dhanraj) Pillay with two players," the coach explained. "Now that the Aussies would have seen our game, they would come prepared to blunt out main weapons."
Indian skipper Ramandeep Singh, who received a cut on his left cheek that might need to be stiched up, said the team had a bad start today.
"We kept losing the ball easily in the first 10 minutes, and that wasn’t a good feeling to begin with," he said.
Argentine coach Jorge Ruiz said his team played better today than in the opening match against India in Atlanta four years ago, where they won 1-0.
"The Indian also played well in Atlanta, but our defence was good," he said. "We played better today but ended up losing, that is fate."
He rued the two yellow cards which left Argentina with 10 players on two different occasions -- and on both occasions India managed to score a goal.
Carlos Retegui in the 21st minute and Jorge Lombi in the 54th minute were given temporary suspensions for rough play and deliberate fouls.
"The two yellow cards finished our prospects. I feel my team could improve its relations the umpires."
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