East Bengal disappointed after AFC Cup defeat

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Beirut, Mar 12 (UNI) After losing to Lebanese club Safa in the opening match of their AFC Cup campaign, a disappointed East Bengal coach Aloke Mukherjee blamed poor finishing as the reason for his side's defeat.

''We had a good game but Safa sealed the match with their goal in the first half and they were the better side,'' Mukherjee said.

''In the second half we were better and we could have completed a good comeback but missed a couple of chances to level the score,'' he added. ''Hopefully we will learn from this game and our next match in India will not prove as easy for Safa.'' Safa downed East Bengal 1-0 in their Group B encounter yesterday to go top of the table. East Bengal, meanwhile, are placed at the bottom.

A delighted Safa coach Samir Saad said he was pleased to see his side get off to a flying start.

''This was our first official match in an Asian club competition and the team had a good game tonight,'' Saad said.

''We only won the match by a single goal but we could have scored more as we missed several chances including a penalty in the last minute,'' he added. ''But this win will give us the necessary push and build our confidence for our upcoming matches. And with each match we will also grow in experience.'' East Bengal will take on Ahli Sana'a of Yemen in their next AFC Cup match on March 18.

UNI XC AB HT1722

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