Sreejesh proved he is India`s best goalkeeper: Oltmans

Ipoh: India`s interim coach Roelant Oltmans values team effort than individual brilliance but the Dutchman was all praise for P R Sreejesh`s sterling performance under the bar on Monday and termed him the "best goalkeeper" in the country.

Sreejesh produced a fine show under the bar to help two-time champions India stun title holders South Korea 2-0 in their second Pool B match and secure their place in the semifinals of the ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament here.

Sreejesh made as many as six-seven clear saves, which included some acrobatic efforts, to keep a clean slate for India and also earn the man-of-the-match award.

"There is only one man-of-the-match and I am happy that Sreejesh got it. But for me there is only one hero and that`s my team. We don`t have individuals, we are a team and we work as a team. We compete as a team and try to give our best performance as a team," Oltmans said after the match at the Sultan Azlan Shah stadium.

"No doubt Sreejesh is by far the best goalkeeper in India and he has proved it yet again today," he added.

The coach also had words of appreciation for captain Sardar Singh-led midfield and defence, which was considered as India`s perennial problem.

"I am happy that Sardar was able to play a little bit more again. He is slowly getting fitter and rising to the occasion. We need him later on in the tournament. But I am very happy with the performance of all the midfielders ? S K Uthappa, Chinglensana (Singh), Manpreet (Singh).

"Not only midfield but our defenders did very well. I am happy with the overall team performance. This is a huge experience for youngsters of our team," the coach said.

Oltmans, however, said that India were lucky not to have conceded a goal in the opening half and felt his wards played better after the change of ends.

"To be honest, we were lucky to be leading at halftime, especially after conceding five penalty corners in the first half. The Koreans were the better side in the first half. But in the second half after about 10 minutes we were able to turn the game," he observed.

"All in all, we played quite well in this match and scored good goals.

It was an interesting test for us. It was a serious test for the team for the first time. It gave us an idea where we were good and where will have to improve. We are trying to change our style during the course of the matches so that it doesn`t become easy for opponents," he signed off.


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