We conceded goals due to silly mistakes
Indian players rued the silly mistakes committed by them in their Asian Cup football match against Bahrain and said the scoreline could have been more respectable than 2-5 had they avoided the errors.
India conceded a penalty inside the first 10 minutes but took only a minute to find the equaliser before the defence went off to sleep as three goals were let in within the first 45 minutes which put the team on the back foot.
"Overall we played very well and we dominated the second half. May be due to some silly mistakes we conceded too many goals in the first half. Though we came back strongly in the second half it was not enough," said captain Climax Lawrence.
"Our defence played very well against Australia but there were some silly mistakes against Bahrain," said the central midfielder.
Image: Bahrain's Salman Isa (left) gestures toward teammate Abdulla Fatadi as India's Mehrajuddin Wadoo watches after their Asian Cup match on Friday
'It highlights the difference in the level of our game'
Striker Sunil Chhetri was disappointed his side leaked too many goals in the first half.
"The first half was disappointing. We conceded three silly goals and I believe we should have done a lot better than the 5-2 scoreline in the end.
"It only highlights the difference in the level that if you make a small mistake against big teams, you have to pay for them. You just can't switch off for a moment or two as it may hurt you," said Chhetri.
Senior player Renedy Singh also rued conceding too many goals in the first half after a good start and said the fifth goal killed the match after a fightback in the second half.
"In the first half, we started well but later lost our way. And whatever few chances that came our way, we couldn't equalise. This is football but I must say that the fifth goal we conceded was bad. We came back into the match in the second half but the fifth goal just killed the contest," said the midfielder.
Image: India's players react after losing against Bahrain in the Asian Cup match on Friday
'I think the goal was Renedy's'
"Bahrain are a stronger team than us. At this level, they utilised their chances. But overall, I'm pleased with our performance in the second half. If we play like this against Korea, it will be good," he said.
India's first goal by Gouramangi was scored from a Renedy freekick and he was not given the credit for the second goal even though his left footer had crossed the goal-line after beating the Bahraini goalkeeper.
Chhetri, who nodded home from the rebound, admitted the goal should have been in Renedy's name.
"I think the goal was Renedy's. He is an amazing player and in the absence of Bhaichung, he was motivating us on the field. It was a brilliant free-kick for the first goal and the second goal was Renedy's amazing left foot," said Chhetri.
Image: India's Renedy Singh congratulates Sunil Chhetri
Injured Bhutia still unsure of place for next match
Meanwhile, captain Bhaichung Bhutia took part in the full training session of the team for the first time during the tournament in Doha.
Bhutia, who was included in the 23-member squad despite being laid low by a calf muscle injury and has not played since mid-September, trained with the reserve team for nearly one hour at the Al Wakrah Stadium at the outskirts of the city.
Those who played on Friday against Bahrain were given rest.
Coach Bob Houghton said the team management will not rush to take a decision on Bhutia and wait for another two days before deciding his participation in the game against South Korea on Tuesday.
"Bhaichung took part in full training for the first time today. We will wait and see how he is taking to it, still two more practice sessions to go before the South Korea game," he said.
Image: Bahrain's Hamad Rakea (left) collides with India's Steven Dias
'We have earned respect from spectators and opponents'
Houghton was all praise of his boys for their gutsy performance in the two matches they have played so far.
"The boys showed great character in the last two games. We kept going even after trailing by three goals in the first half against Australia and 4-1 against Bahrain. We really fought well till the end.
"We have surely earned some respect from the spectators and from our opponents in this tournament. We need to keep playing at this level often, which will only help the Indian football to grow," he said.
Asked about the next game against South Korea, the former Uzbekistan and China coach said, "The next game is going to be then toughest for us for two reasons. Firstly, we will be playing third game in eight days at this level of competition.
"Secondly, South Korea need something out from this game to qualify for the next round. So they will not go easy."
Image: India's Gouramangi Singh (left) and Bahrain's Salman Isa vie for possession