Sapo hails Japan’s resilience


AFC LogoBANGKOK – Japan boss Sergio Sapo paid tribute to the resilience of his players after they survived their first major test at the AFC Futsal Championships by coming from two goals down to see off Australia 4-2.

Christopher Zeballos and Luke Haydon had given the Aussies a 2-0 half-time lead at Nimibutr Stadium only for goals from Yuki Kanayama, Daisuke Ono, Yusuke Inada and a late effort from Yusuke Komiyama to seal top spot in Group B and a quarter-final showdown with Kyrgyzstan.

“We played well at the start but we went two down in the first half so I told the players at half-time to calm down and not give up and that’s why we won,” he said.

“The beginning of the game was good because we had pace and much more movement so we needed to do that in the second-half. The players gave 100% and that’s why we were able to get back into the game.

“I knew it was going to be a difficult game but the players never gave up.”

Australia counterpart Scott Gilligan admitted his side tired towards the end but was still full of praise for their efforts. They now meet hosts Thailand on Thursday.

“We played well today but we showed while we’ve got a lead, we still have problems keeping possession in the second half,” he said.

“I reiterated that at half-time and I think we turned it over too cheaply at times but when you’re chasing the game, you’re always getting more tired.

“Aussies always have a lot of courage and the boys were hurting in that second half.

“I think that’s one of the major problems. In Australia we play running clock and not stop clock and it shows at the back end of each game so we’re still getting used to the conditioning.

“But I can’t fault the guys, first-half I thought we were tremendous. Obviously they had some chances too but we took ours and they didn’t and in the second-half they took theirs and we didn’t. We still made some chances. It was unfortunate but that’s the way it goes.

“Certainly our team has grown in stature and I know that while the next game we’ll be tough, we’ll be ready.”

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Published : 13/5/2008

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