A depleted Indian side went down 1-2 against Jordan on Saturday at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Al-Qweismeh, Amman.
A freak goal from Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi gave Jordan the lead in the 25th minute. Ehsan Haddad increased the hosts’ lead in 58th minute. Nishu Kumar, who was introduced in the 58th minute of the match, pulled one back for India just after the hour mark.
Speaking on his team’s performance, Indian coach Stephen Constantine said, “I thought the boys were outstanding. I just want to thank them individually, all the 15 or 17 that participated. They gave everything. I can't ask for more. Maybe we were unfortunate to not get an equaliser but it was important to play the game. We had no intention of not playing but circumstances changed things. Disappointed we lost but it is okay.”
Five of the seven players, who joined the squad late due to unavoidable circumstances, were left out. On omitting the likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, Manvir Singh, Udanta Singh and Halicharan Narzary from the matchday squad, Constantine explained, "The seven players that came late we asked them on how they were feeling. Some felt bad and some were not so bad. I did not want to risk other guys. Ashique (Kuruniyan) and (Sumeet) Passi are young and so they recover quicker. Ashique did magnificently as he gave his all in the 45 minutes and so did the others. I could not have risked all of them on medical grounds.”
Constantine was pleased with the fact that none of his players picked up an injury. He also praised their performance given that most were deployed out of position.
“The boys that played today gave them a little push in the right direction to be in the squad (For Asian Cup). It is another month to go and I just hope that no one gets injured. And today my biggest worry was not having the preparation we needed but more importantly no one got injured. Considering that we played without a striker in the first half and most of them out of position, it is a great performance. These boys have given me a lot in the last four years and I appreciate it.”
Nishu Kumar scored his maiden goal for the national side within just three minutes of coming into the field. On Nishu’s goal, the British coach said, “I am extremely proud of all the 47 players that debuted under me. All of them have contributed in their very own way. I want all of them to have fantastic careers going ahead. It is a great feeling to see them flourish for their clubs. India has a bigger pool of players right now and I am delighted Nishu scored on his debut and that too playing out of position in a game under difficult circumstances.”