India beat Guam 1-0 at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore on Thursday night to claim their first win in the World Cup qualifiers. Robin Singh scored the solitary goal and also claimed the man of the match award. Here are the excerpts from the post-match press conference.
On India’s performance
Constantine: It’s our first points in the group stages. We played very well in the first half. The second half was a setback, but these boys are resilient and they gave everything. Overall, we deserved to win the game. It isn’t easy with 10 men. We beat Guam, but now we need to beat Iran.
I need to thank the backroom staff for this win. I want to thank the West Block, they were absolutely awesome today. That is why we love to play in Bengaluru.
On Robin Singh’s goal
Constantine: It was with his right foot and I expected his shot to end up in the pavilion! (Robin Singh laughs)
Robin Singh: The goal has taken lot of pressure off me. The team has worked hard and I was just at the right place at the right time. I’d like to thank the coach and the team, and I dedicate the goal to them.
On whether they changed anything for this game
Constantine: We changed nothing from how we did things. This team will come good in 12-18 months, they are the future of Indian football. We needed the points today and this gives us a good chance of qualifying for the Asian Cup playoffs.
On the team playing better in this game compared to previous fixtures
We need to remember who we played. Playing against Oman, you won’t get the ball. We played Guam, and we fought physically today. We didn’t play with much pressure today and hopefully we will push on. We shouldn’t get carried away, even though I’m very happy with the three points.
On the fans praising Robin Singh after recent criticism
Constantine: He paid them! (laughs)
Robin Singh: I’d like to thank the fans, especially for the huge banner (unfurled before the game), I think it’s one of the biggest in Asia.
India weren’t better than Guam, it was a game we should have won: Gary White
On whether the playing conditions were tough for Guam
The conditions were also the same for the Indian team. Maybe, we struggled more.
On the result
We dominated the game from start to finish but were outclassed by a world-class finish. Poor finishing cost us a result – that was the only reason. Many headers near the six-yard box should have been put away. We had enough chances to come away with a result. Credit to India and the fans, but it was a game we should have won.
On the referee’s decisions
I'd be interested to see if the ball went out in the replay (on the cross that led to a goal being disallowed).
On whether India were better
I don't think India were better tonight. But they got the result, which is what counts.
What next in the qualifiers
We have a tough game against Iran who beat Turkmenistan 3-1 tonight. We have to dig deep and get some points in the next games.