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When I play sports in Japan I hear おしい!a lot when for example a shot is almost in, but just out, or if you just about lose a closely contested point or game.

Is there a way to say a match or game was close without including the dissapointment connotation of おしい (dissapointing in the dictionary)?

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惜しい=close, almost (made it)

I do not think that 惜しい always has the disappointment connotation. It is just the same as the English words, "close" and "almost." In many situations, however, the disappointment connotation would be involved because "it was close."

Other expressions would be:

接戦に敗れた。

僅差で敗れた。

接戦だった。

(接戦を制した。=won the game)

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