Chitrakar pleased with Young Lions desire

Courts Young Lions coach Robin Chitrakar was pleased with the desire his players showed as they came from a goal down to beat Woodlands Wellington 2-1 on Friday.

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By Gabriel Tan

Young Lions went behind in the 14th minute when Moon Soon-ho pounced on a mistake by Al-Qaasimy Rahman to lash home a left-footed strike into the back of the net, and buoyed by taking the lead, the Rams proceeded the dominate proceedings in the opening 45.

However, Chitrakar's side hit back after the break and equalised in the 77th minute when substitute Nazrul Nazari poked home a cross from Sirina Camara, before Faris Ramli netted the winner three minutes from the end from close range.

While he admits his side didn't get off to the brightest of starts, Chitrakar expressed delight at the determination they showed to come from a goal down and grab all three points.

"It was a nervous start from us, especially after conceding such an early goal," he said after the game. "But after we settled down and got our passing game going, we knew we were going to get goals.

"We definitely controlled the game in the second half and of course we were a bit lucky when they hit the post in the last minute.

"Our boys were still trying to build up from the back and it was a bit of a risk, but if they continue to play the way they did and keep the ball on the ground and create chances, we will definitely win matches.

"To go down a goal and come back to win 2-1 is definitely a good thing for us. It's not easy but the boys showed character and determination and most importantly, the fighting spirit and desire to win matches."

Nonetheless, Chitrakar was quick to play down expectations as he insisted there was still plenty of improvement to come from his players.

"Last year, most of these players didn't feature for us so this is essentially a new team and we definitely need time," he added.

"Even today [Friday], we had some new players that came in. It's not easy to always change players and blood the youngsters, but the boys did well.

Woodlands assistant coach Clement Teo was unable to hide his disappointment after the game as his side somehow managed to throw away a lead despite dominating large portions of the match.

"Very frustrated," was his reply when asked for his immediate thoughts. "We've been working for one month for this game but sad to say, we lost due to individual errors.

"You can see the boys really wanted the win and they worked very hard, which is what makes the loss very frustrating.

"We have been working our socks off, the intensity was clear for all to see and we didn't give them much time on the ball."

Nonetheless, Teo insisted singling out the players who cost the Rams victory was not something the club believed in.

"The easiest excuse is to say we were unlucky, but this is football," he added.

"I've said from the start of the season, even though we may concede through individual errors, the team lose as a whole.

"It would be easy for me to name the player whom we think has made the error, but that's not acceptable as far as we are concerned at Woodlands. This is a team sport."

Woodlands will look to bounce back and end a run of 11 games without a win next Thursday when they take on basement club Geylang United at the Bedok Stadium.



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