Having been pummeled 7-1 on aggregate by hosts India in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying play-off, Laos national team head coach Valakone Phomphakdy was short of words to describe the 6-1 result in Guwahati on Tuesday evening.
"India are a good side. We knew what we would be facing and we respect them. However, it was not our day even though we could have performed better," lamented Phomphakdy.
Laos allowed India to create a history of sorts. The last time India scored six against a team was in the 2007 Nehru Cup where they defeated Cambodia 6-0 in New Delhi, a good nine years ago.
Lacklustre in defense in the second half, Laos started the match pretty neat and even took the lead in the 16th minute through Khonesavanh Sihavong. But the arrival of Jackichand Singh in the 41st minute turned the tide in India's favour. The Manipuri winger notched up two assists within just five minutes of his stay on the pitch and also assisted another after the break.
"India were better than us physically and tactically. They deserved to win and the score-line speaks for itself. We cannot compare the two sides as one (India) were far better than us," Phomphakdy reflected when asked of the basic difference between the sides.
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The 16th minute goal scored by 21-year-old Sihavong did not come as much of a surprise to Phomphakdy. The former Lao Toyota coach said, "No, I was not surprised. I knew that we will take the lead as we wanted to put pressure on the opposition. I was happy when we scored the first goal."
Laos, who have never qualified for the AFC Asian Cup, have their UAE 2019 hopes dashed but they still have the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Championship qualifiers to play for, which start in October later this year.