Constantine happy with India’s win

Having set the template for building a team for the future Indian football, coach Stephen Constantine fielded a young side for the opening match against Sri Lanka in the SAFF Suzuki Cup football championship at the Greenfield stadium on Friday.

India's coach Constantine was happy with his team's performance against Sri Lanka. India won 2-0 courtesy of two goals from striker Robin Singh.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Having set the template for building a team for the future Indian football, coach Stephen Constantine fielded a young side for the opening match against Sri Lanka in the SAFF Suzuki Cup football championship at the Greenfield stadium on Friday.

The young side dominated its opponents and notched up a 2-0 win which pleased head coach Constantine. “In the first half we had a lot of possession but could not penetrate. We took our chances in the second half. Had we taken them in the first the score-line would not be the same,’’ said the Indian coach.

Though happy with the win, coach said that there is still scope for lot of improvement. “In football it is all about positioning and today we were well positioned to take our chances. We started playing the ball up when I sent in Rowlin Borges as substitute. Of course there is still room for improvement,” said the coach.

Constantine true to his word of blooding youngsters handed over the first India cap to Lallianzuala. The 18-year-old AIFF academy product came on as substitute late in the second half for Robin Singh, who injured himself after scoring the second goal. Reflecting on his choice of player, Constantine said he always believed that Lallianzula had it in him to play international football. “I had always believed in philosophy that if they are good enough they are old enough and Lallianzuala is good enough for us. But there is still a long way to go for him. He has a bright future ahead of him,” said Constantine.

India will play against Nepal on Sunday. Nepal of late has improved vastly and had given the Indian team good fight in the World Cup qualifiers.

The head coach was not ready to take Nepal for granted who was unlucky to lose to Sri Lanka in the first match. “Like I said earlier there are no easy matches in international tournaments. Nepal will be a tough game. They are hard working and difficult side to break down. We treat them with utmost respect. We played thrice against them recently and have won only once,” said the coach. A win against Nepal will enable India top the group and qualify for the semifinals in style.