The inability of the Indian forwards to convert goal scoring chances was the reason for Indian's 1-2 defeat at the hands of Malaysia in the semi-final of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, coach Joaquim Carvalho said on Friday.
"We missed far too many opportunities tonight despite dominating the game. More than that, the two soft goals we conceded hurt us much more," Carvalho told PTI in Ipoh, Malaysia.
The coach, who skipped the post-match media conference saying he was held up talking to his players, claimed that India were denied several penalty corners, especially in the second half when they were virtually camping in the Malaysian circle.
"There were quite a few instances where we deserved a penalty corner, but then the umpires thought otherwise. I am quite disappointed at the way it all turned out," he said.
Carvalho observed that the balance of the team was upset when he had to replace full-back Harpal Singh who had a miserable outing.
"I had to put our midfielder Bimal Lakra in the full-back position. It definitely affected the flow of our moves because Bimal is a key player in the midfield. Thus, our pre-match plans could not be carried out.
"We knew Malaysia's gameplan and that they would play the ball on the flanks and also use the scoop. We had plans to counter them, but when one of the full-backs was not at his best, we had to shuffle our line-up," he said.
However, the coach was satisfied with the performance of his team.
"Overall, I am pretty pleased with the performance of our team. Our main intention was to provide some exposure and experience to the youngsters. Now, our goal is to finish on the podium, like we did last year, by beating Korea to third place."
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