Early goal by Lebanese striker mellows India in Nehru Cup starter

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (ANI): The fifth minute goal by Lebaneon made it tough for India to bounce back into Nehru Cup starter, Indian football coach Bob Houghton after losing 0-1 to Lebanon said on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters here after losing 0-1 to Lebanon, Houghton said, "It was overall quite a good performance. The first goal early on was a massive set back. It took us a while for us to actually get over that. But I thought the last 20 minutes of the first half and in the second half we were quite dominant. But you know it was always going to be difficult to score goals on the outfield out there."

Lebanon defender Ali Al Saad fired in a low, curling free kick from 22 yards following a foul by N.P. Pradeep in the fourth minute as Lebanon started at a furious pace to rattle defending champions India.

The hosts went close a few times on either half but Lebanon, clearly the better side, tightened their defence and used quick counter-attacks to keep the hosts from mounting sustained pressure.

The Lebanese coach Emile Rustom said that the uneven surface and coarse grass made it tough for them to play to their potential.

"It will be very hard to play on this ground. The grass should have been cut before this game. We suffered a lot because of the temperature and our opponents also," said Rustom.

India hopes to come up with a far more clinical performance in their next three games.

Kyrgyzstan face Syria in the next game of the round robin competition on Thursday.

Syria, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka and India feature in the August 19 to 31 tournament, being organised mainly to prepare the hosts for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. (ANI)

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