We committed silly mistakes: Players

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Doha, Jan 15 (PTI) Indian players rued the silly mistakescommitted by them in their Asian Cup football match againstBahrain and said the scoreline could have been morerespectable than 2-5 had they avoided the errors.

India conceded a penalty inside the first 10 minutes buttook only a minute to find the equaliser before the defencewent off to sleep as three goals were let in within the first45 minutes which put the team on the back foot.

"Overall we played very well and we dominated the secondhalf. May be due to some silly mistakes we conceded too manygoals in the first half. Though we came back strongly in thesecond half it was not enough," said captain Climax Lawrence.

"Our defence played very well against Australia but therewere some silly mistakes against Bahrain," said the centralmidfielder.

Striker Sunil Chhetri was disappointed his side leakedtoo many goals in the first half.

"The first half was disappointing. We conceded threesilly goals and I believe we should have done a lot betterthan the 5-2 scoreline in the end.

"It only highlights the difference in the level that ifyou make a small mistake against big teams, you have to payfor them. You just can''t switch off for a moment or two as itmay hurt you," said Chhetri.

Senior player Renedy Singh also rued conceding too manygoals in the first half after a good start and said the fifthgoal killed the match after a fightback in the second half.

"In the first half, we started well but later lost ourway. And whatever few chances that came our way, we couldn''tequalise. This is football but I must say that the fifth goalwe conceded was bad. We came back into the match in the secondhalf but the fifth goal just killed the contest," said themidfielder.

"Bahrain are a stronger team than us. At this level, theyutilised their chances. But overall, I''m pleased with ourperformance in the second half. If we play like this againstKorea, it will be good," he said.

India''s first goal by Gouramangi was scored from a Renedyfreekick and he was not given the credit for the second goaleven though his left footer had crossed the goal-line afterbeating the Bahraini goalkeeper.

Chhetri, who nodded home from the rebound, admitted thegoal should have been in Renedy''s name.

"I think the goal was Renedy''s. He is an amazing playerand in the absence of Bhaichung, he was motivating us on thefield. It was a brilliant free-kick for the first goal and thesecond goal was Renedy''s amazing left foot," said Chhetri. PTIPDS PM

(Reopens SPF 16) Meanwhile, captain Bhaichung Bhutia took part in the fulltraining session of the team for the first time during thetournament here.

Bhutia, who was included in the 23-member squad despitebeing laid low by a calf muscle injury and has not playedsince mid-September, trained with the reserve team for nearlyone hour at the Al Wakrah Stadium at the outskirts of thecity.

Those who played yesterday against Bahrain were givenrest.

Coach Bob Houghton said the team management will not rushto take a decision on Bhutia and wait for another two daysbefore deciding his participation in the game against SouthKorea on Tuesday.

"Bhaichung took part in full training for the first timetoday. We will wait and see how he is taking to it, still twomore practice sessions to go before the South Korea game," hesaid.

Houghton was all praise of his boys for their gutsyperformance 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 firsthalf against Australia and 4-1 against Bahrain. We reallyfought well till the end.

"We have surely earned some respect from the spectatorsand from our opponents in this tournament. We need to keepplaying at this level often, which will only help the Indianfootball to grow," he said.

Asked about the next game against South Korea, the formerUzbekistan and China coach said, "The next game is going to bethen toughest for us for two reasons. Firstly, we will beplaying third game in eight days at this level of competition.

"Secondly, South Korea need something out from this gameto qualify for the next round. So they will not go easy." PTIPDS PM

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