India men's hockey team coach Graham Reid
India men's hockey team coach Graham Reid

Not surprised with Russia's performance: India men's hockey coach Graham Reid

ANI | Updated: Nov 02, 2019 08:08 IST

Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) [India], Nov 2 (ANI): Lauding the opponents in the FIH Olympic qualifiers, Indian men's hockey team coach Graham Reid said they played really well and their ranking does not reflect how good a side Russia really is. India registered a 4-2 win against Russia in the qualifiers.
"I am not surprised by Russia's performance. Full credit to them, they played really well, they trapped everything, they made good tackles. That is the problem with world rankings, they are number 22, are they really? They are a good team. They did not have pressure on them as we defeated them 10-0 last time. So they could have come out as the underdogs and play with freedom," Reid told reporters after the match.
Coach Reid also said that he was disappointed with how the Indian lineup played in the match. The team ended up conceding a goal in the last minute, but the coach said that these types of things can happen in the sport of hockey.
"I was a little disappointed with how our guys played today. I have spoken to them, but it is good that we get another opportunity. I know that there is a talk about India conceding goals in the last minute, but it can happen in hockey," Reid said.
"A little disappointed with the few things we talked about. We did not get enough pressure on them, there was a bit more energy to us in the second half. It is always hard in a game like hockey where you can flood your defence with players. We were not that smart in the first quarter, we got better in the later stages," he added.
Reid also went on to say that the players were unable to get the ball rolling in the midfield. He also said that one can plan for about everything, but in the end, it will always be about how the players execute those plans.
"We needed to get the ball in the midfield today, but we did not do it enough. In that last quarter, there was a bit more energy shown by us. Always difficult from ground level, you have assumptions from the outside but when you see the video, you realise that is not the case. It does not matter what plan you have, it is always about execution," Reid said.
In the match between India and Russia at the Kalinga Stadium, the hosts got off to a brilliant start as they gained a one-goal lead in the fifth minute with the help of Harmanpreet Singh after he successfully converted a penalty stroke.
However, with two minutes into the second quarter, Andrey Kuraev scored an equalizer for Russia.
The hosts did not take much time to restore their one-goal lead as Mandeep Singh scored a goal for India in the 24th minute, bringing the scoreline to 2-1.
Sunil SV then consolidated India's position in the match as he netted a goal in the 48th minute and put Russia under immense pressure.
Mandeep Singh scored another goal for India taking India's tally to four goals. When the match was in the final minute, Russia won a penalty corner and did not make any mistake as they scored a goal.
The second leg of the qualifiers between both teams will take place on November 2. (ANI)