Busan: Bhaichung Bhutia was fuming. He couldn’t believe what he had just seen of the Chinese. “They are the biggest cheats I have ever seen… the amount of play-acting they did on the field today is amazing,” he said shortly after India’s 0-2 defeat at the Yangsan Public Stadium.
“They played in the World Cup, they are a good side, I don’t understand why they had to do such things. Football is a man’s game…”
The Indian skipper was also critical of the Iranian referee as well. “He showed me the yellow card in the very first minute of the game. What did I do' And the penalty' It was just not on,” said Bhaichung, obviously disappointed at the result in a game they didn’t deserve to lose. “We let in two silly goals, the second one came in injury time and that killed us.”
There was some confusion in the Indian camp about the mode of quarter final qualification. They knew all this while that the best second-placed team from among groups B, C and D would go through along with the best runner-up from groups A, E and F.
On Thursday, India got a letter clarifying that the two best second-finishing teams from all six groups will make the quarters along with the group champions. The B, C and D system would have brightened their qualification chances. Now, they are virtually out of reckoning.
“We’ll have to pray that something good happens for us,” said Stephen Constantine. The coach too felt that several decisions had gone against his team. “We were very unlucky today. And then we couldn’t score from the chances we created. Against a team like China, you will never get more than two-three chances. If you can’t take those, you’ll suffer,” Constantine said.
Bhutia Player of Month
Bhaichung has been adjudged Player of the Month by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for September, adds PTI from Margao. AFC secretary general Peter Velappan stated this in a media release.