Goalkeeper Moirangthem Dheeraj Singh was one of the top performers in India’s 0-3 thrashing by the United States but he was a disappointed man following the loss in the campaign opener of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Dheeraj’s exploits under the bar even drew praise from USA coach John Hackworth.
But if not for Dhreeraj, who made at least three fine saves, including a point-blank strike by American captain and star striker Josh Sargent, India would have lost the Group A match by a bigger margin.
‘I am disappointed because we lost the match. My good performance matters little if the team does not win,’ Dheeraj said.
Besides Dheeraj, USA coach Hackworth had praised the two central defenders Anwar Ali and Jitendra Singh for denying success to the US strikers for long periods of time.
Asked what he felt about the praise showered by the USA coach, Dheeraj said, ‘It is the duty of the goalkeeper to save goals and obviously I have to save as many as possible for my side.’
The Manipuri also rued about the second goal scored by the US from a deflection.
‘Basically, it (the goal) was a deflection and you know it was from a corner and one of my team-mates touched it and the ball landed in front of the opponent who kicked it and deflected into the net. I could not do anything,’ he said.
He said he will try to continue his good form in the next matches. ‘I started confidently (against USA) and hope to continue the same in the next match. I will keep the same confidence in the coming matches,’ Dheeraj added.
India play Colombia on October 9 and Ghana on October 12.
Photo Source- AIFF