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We played well today: Harendra

January 14, 2004 21:25 IST

The fourth defeat in five matches notwithstanding, the Indian camp believed that the young team acquitted itself well in the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament at Kuala Lumpur.

"We lost four matches, but still I believe our performance has been improving, and in our last game against Spain on Friday, we will try to improve further," said stand-in skipper Ignace Tirkey during the post-match media briefing on Wednesday.

He said the 2-3 defeat to Korea was no reflection on the team's ability, and it was just that goals did not come their way, said Tirkey, deputising for an injured Dhanraj Pillay, said.

Coach Harendra Singh said that his team will make every effort to win at least one game when they take on Spain on Friday.

Regarding the absence of Baljeet Singh Dhillon who is nursing a broken nose, and Pillay (knee injury), Harendra said, "Yes, we did miss them, but then the youngsters did play quite well today. If we had more control in our midfield play, then I think, we could have done better tonight."

He also questioned the decision of umpire Juan Manuel Reqena of Spain to first award a 16-yard hit to India and then change the ruling to signal a goal for Korea. The decision helped Korea to draw level.

"My players told me that the Korean forward was stuck on the foot before he deflected the free-hit into goal. The umpire was in no position to judge the offence, and I was surprised that he consulted the other umpire (Stefan Brenner of Germany) who was standing near the centre-line. If Brennar could see from that distance and angle, then I must salute him," said Harendra.

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