AFC Asian Cup: Stephen Constantine rues missed chances

While Stephen Constantine agreed that the loss to UAE did sting, he feels that India was the better team and is looking ahead to its next game — against Bahrain in Sharjah on Monday.

India's coach Stephen Constantine shouts instructions to his players during the match against UAE.   -  AFP

Stephen Constantine didn't appear to be perturbed post his side's 2-0 loss against United Arab Emirates on Monday, but did address his side's main flaw of the evening: its inefficiency in front of goal.

“I think we created enough chances, especially in the first half, to win two games, not one. The boys gave absolutely everything. I just felt that we didn't convert our chances and we paid for it. UAE had three shots on goal, one hit the post and the other two were goals. I think we deserved a draw from this game at least,” he said.

When asked if the felt his side was unfortunate to have struck the post on two occasions, the Englishman joked : "They should make the goals a little bigger!"

He continued that while the loss did sting, the Indians were the better team on the evening and will have to look ahead to their next game. “I can't ask any more from them, they gave it absolutely everything. We'll get ourselves back.  We got another game in four days and we're going to win it and qualify,” he added.

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The Indian team is a fairly young squad with an average age of 25. When asked if the inexperience of the youngsters made an impact, he said: “You're always going to get a bit of inconsistency with young players. The beauty of it is that if you stick to them and give them the time, they will mature and become top payers. As you can see, they gave the UAE a very good run for their money and we know what happened against Thailand. They will get better with these kind of games.”

The Indians will now regroup and head to Sharjah on Friday as they begin their preparation for their final group clash against Bahrain. Group A is currently wide open with UAE on top with four points, while India and Thailand occupy the second and third spot with three points respectively. Bahrain is languishing at the bottom with one point after it lost to Thailand earlier in the day.

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