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Goalkeeper Adrian's showing lauded
May 15, 2008 18:03 IST
After beating arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 and clinching their third successive victory in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Thursday, India's coach A K Bansal attributed the success to mental toughness of his players.
The victory kept the Indians in contention for a place in the final of the tournament.
"Normally, we are not mentally strong enough to go for a win while facing Pakistan. But, for a change, we were psychologically not down today. That's why, from the beginning we were dominating," Bansal said after the match.
"Once we were mentally ready, the results were there on the field. We scored early goals, put them on the defensive and had a great first half," he added.
The coach, however, did not try to hide his disappointment about the team's sloppy performance in the second session when the opponents organised several attacks though without much success.
"I am concerned why we didn't maintain the same temperament in the second half. We have come here to play for 70 minutes, but won two matches on the strength of two first-half performances. This is not good," Bansal rued.
Bansal said he is not satisfied with the team's showing in the latter part of the game.
"I think we played only 20 to 25 per cent of our actual potential in the second half. This is not acceptable to me," he said.
Pakistan got their only goal in 58th minute, when Mohammad Saqlain scored from a penalty stroke.
Pargat Singh, the manager of Indian team, regretted the poor showing of the midfielders in the second half.
"I am not satisfied. Our midfield was pathetic in the second half. Because they were not receiving the ball the way they should, Pakistan was having numerous counter-attacks," he said.
"In modern hockey you don't look at the scoreboard. You keep playing good hockey whether you are leading or trailing. That did not happen here," Singh added.
Both the coach and the manager, however, lauded goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza's role in the match.
Adrian thwarted several attacks from the Pakistan forwards in the second half, which contributed hugely in India's much-required win.
The Indian goalkeeper also received a pat on his back from opponent coach Naved Alam, who said, "He gave you the victory."
"We have lost because of goalkeeping. We lost because our strikers are not doing their job. We had many chances to equalise and go ahead. I am concerned about our strikers," a disappointed Alam said.