Constantine: 'Lack of experience cost us the match'

"The boys played their heart out but eventually, the lack of experience cost us the match," Indian coach Stephen Constantine said of India's loss to Syria in the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers.

Indian coach Stephen Constantine applauded the Qatar U23 team saying they are ''very quick.''   -  K. Murali Kumar

Despite going down by two second-half goals against Syria in the first match of the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers, India's boys, most of whom would be playing their fourth international match at this level on Friday, draw inspiration from the praise bestowed on them by Syrian coach Hussain Afash.

Syrian coach Hussain Afash lavished huge praise on the boys in Blue. 

"In actual facts, Indians pressed us very hard in the first half and they were playing manoeuvring football. In the second half, they conceded two goals but I must say, they got under our skin and these boys are definitely going to have a great future ahead,'' he said.

India has little time left to recover as it takes on host Qatar at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Friday.

Meanwhile, the host outplayed Turkmenistan to secure a 2-0 victory in its first match.

Indian coach Stephen Constantine applauded the Qatar U23 team saying they are ''very quick.''

"They look very quick at times. They have an utmost quality I must say. It'll be a big challenge for us against them,'' he stated.

Stephen also praised his boys for their display in the first match of the Qualifiers.

"The boys played their heart out but eventually, the lack of experience cost us the match," he said.

Although some of his boys had a standout performance tonight, he emphasised on the 'team game.' 

"Some of the boys might have had a good game but I believe this is a team game where everyone needs to perform and they've had a great team effort tonight. We'll take it forward to the next game,'' he declared.

On being asked whether Qatar's superlative performance in the AFC U23 Championship 2016 would impose a mental block to his boys, he pointed out that "it's not the same team anymore."

"A lot of players from that batch might have graduated to the senior team. Their main advantage is that they're having the same coach throughout."

"Playing a late evening match, that too at their home is really going to be advantageous for them", he added.

Meanwhile, a decent number of supporters, clad in the Tricolour, were present in the stands to cheer for the youngsters. 

"When you're playing at this stage, you want the stadium to be full. It keeps the adrenaline flowing amongst the players. Personally, I hope a good number of Indians will turn out in our support tomorrow."

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