We should be able to play better against Bahrain: Subrata

Doha: Despite conceding four goals in the AFC Asian Cup opener against Australia, India goalkeeper Subrata Paul does not seem to be too bothered as he expressed confidence that the team will put up a good show against formidable Bahrain in their next Group C clash on Friday.

“We have nothing to lose so we are not under pressure. We have come here to learn and just try to play our best. I just tried my level best against Australia and tried hard to save whatever I could although we still conceded four goals,” said Paul.

“We can forget about it (the game against Australia) and can now look forward to our next game against Bahrain, which will also be a very tough match. We should be able to put up a
better fight against Bahrain, who almost made it to the last World Cup. It will be another tough match and hopefully we will recover well for that game,” added Paul.

India put up a spirited fight against the Australians before losing 0-4 last night at Al Saad Stadium in their opening match of the Asian Cup football tournament.

The deficit could have been much more if not for some excellent saves from the Pune FC goalkeeper, who denied Socceroos Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell a few more chances to score.

The 29-year-old Paul said that it was all a part of the learning experience for his team, who are participating in the AFC Asian Cup finals for the first time since 1984.

“It is a long time since India last qualified for the Asian Cup -? 27 years -- so it’s very hard for us when we play against strong teams at this level,” he said.

“We still have to play Korea Republic and Bahrain, who almost qualified for the last World Cup, but we’ve come here to learn something, while other teams like Australia and Korea have come here to try and win the championship,” said the goalie.

On his own performance against the mighty Australians, Paul said: “I can’t say I am satisfied after conceding four goals. As a team we did well and that’s important.”

India qualified for the continental showpiece event by virtue of winning the AFC Challenge Cup in August 2008, thus breaking a 27-year-old jinx. They have been drawn in a strong pool and will play South Korea in their last match.