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Mistakes in last quarter cost us: Bhaskaran
June 23, 2006 20:29 IST
Coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran blamed an overcautious approach at the start and mistakes in the last quarter for India's 1-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the 15th Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
"We held on to the ball for too long in the beginning, rather than attacking in the opening minutes, as we had planned. There is no use having the ball if you don't attack and this was a big mistake on our part," he said after the match.
"I thought we had a good second-half, but could not convert the scoring chances. Also, with six minutes left, we
conceded the ball that led to the counter-attack, a penalty-corner and the goal. That was the period when we should have kept the ball and waited for the right opportunity to attack," he added.
Bhaskaran said a groin muscle injury forced him to substitute left-half Prabodh Tirkey.
"We had to shuffle our plans a bit thereafter. In any case, the team played well overall and we have a lot to learn from this defeat."
India will now take on New Zealand in the play-off for the third-fourth places on Sunday.
Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans justified his team's cautious approach throughout the match.
"We knew that the Indians are good in counter-attacks, as they have a few fantastic players. So, we had to wait for our opportunity. I am happy that we finally converted our first penalty-corner in this tournament and, remember, it was Weushtof who had scored against India in the Champions Trophy last year when we won 2-1.
"So, I am glad that he did again today," he said.
Oltmans also praised his younger players.
"I am happy that some of my younger players did well, especially Eby Kessing in central midfield. He was brought on just minutes before the match as the experienced Weide van der Sander went down with a knee injury. I had to change my plans at the last moment."
Australian coach Barry Dancer was understandably happy with his team's showing.
"We showed good form today, but the players need to be warned that Sunday is another day and they will have to
re-establish themselves. We had a good start today and built on it," he said.
New Zealand team manager Peter Miskimmin attributed the big defeat to the absence of their key player Ryan Archibald.
"Ryan pulled out owing to a calf muscle pull and it made a huge difference. Of course, this is no excuse, for the
Aussies played well today and put away the few chances they got in the first-half. Hopefully, Ryan will be fit for the game against India (for the bronze medal) on Sunday," he said.