Nawas: ‘We were not good enough’

Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas was less than impressed with his side’s performance in their 1-0 loss to JSW Bengaluru in the first leg of their AFC Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.

The only goal of the game was provided by Bengaluru forward Vineeth, who scored in the eighth minute to give his side the upper hand heading into the second leg in Singapore next week.

Bengaluru had numerous opportunities to double their lead, but were unable to find the back of the net, while Tampines’ best chance came in the 78th minute when Yasir Hanapi nearly brought his side level with a spectacular curling shot.

Nawas was fuming that his side left India trailing Bengaluru and admitted that his side cannot afford to put up a similar performance next week.

“We were not good enough. I think we were bad, in fact,” he said. “We have to take the effort to eliminate this kind of performance. We were just not good enough.”

Even though Tampines will play on home soil in the second leg, Nawas insisted that his side cannot let their guard down and must get off to a strong start in order to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

“We should not underestimate them in the home leg. We should start brightly,” he said. “To me, it is fortunate that it’s only a one-nil defeat because we can score one goal and then it’s all level. We need to step up our game.”