Home Sports We acted naive and made costly mistakes, says India coach Constantine

We acted naive and made costly mistakes, says India coach Constantine

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After Indian football team lost the match against New Zealand in the Intercontinental Cup, head coach Stephen Constantine has said that “individual errors cost India the game.”

India failed to keep their unbeaten record intact in the 2018 Intercontinental Cup as New Zealand beat the hosts 2-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday.

Despite the loss, the Indian team is still one foot in the final to be played on June 10 with six points from two earlier wins. The home team had beaten Chinese Taipei (5-0) and Kenya (3-0).

India took the lead through captain Sunil Chhetri in the 47th minute but New Zealand rallied through goals from Andre Earnest De Jong (49th) and Moses Dyer (86th) as the Indian defence looked shaky all through the match in front of a full-house Mumbai Football Arena.

Intercontinental Cup 2018, India vs New Zealand: Highlights

For Chhetri, who was playing in his 101st match, it was his 62nd international goal, levelling with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (62 from 116 matches) of Sweden and Ronaldo (62 from 98 matches) of Brazil.

Expressing disappointment over India crashing to their first defeat in three matches, Constantine said, “When you win two matches back-to-back sometimes you get carried away.”

Constantine was referring to India’s 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei and 3-0 win over Kenya in the first two matches of the tournament.

If Kenya beat Chinese Taipei tomorrow, it will be a complicated calculation to decide who play in the final. In that situation, all the three teams — India, Kenya and Chinese Taipei — will have six points each and head-to-head results will be considered and then the goal difference.

Since, India has a goal difference of plus 7 as against plus 1 of New Zealand, it has a big chance to make it to the final.

He further said that New Zealand were disciplined and that India made some mistakes and let two silly goals in because of two individual errors.

He added: “Sometimes we acted naïve and made costly mistakes. These are the things that we need to rectify.”

After the comfortable wins in the first two matches, Constantine made as many as seven changes in his starting line-up though he made five substitutions later on.

One of them was goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who made way for Amrinder Singh. He had also initially benched experienced Jeje Lalpekhua and Sandesh Jhinghan, who were back in the second half.

“We gave young guys, who did not play an opportunity to play and that is why this tournament is good for us because we also have to shuffle our ranks and test permutations.”

“We are using the games we have between now and the AFC Asian Cup to prepare for the Continental Championship and hence, we were always going to change the team and give younger players a chance to play,” he added.

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