Indian players wasted multiple good chances as hosts United Aran Emirates (UAE) beat the Blue Tigers 2-0 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Courtesy of this win, UAE go top of the Group A while India move to the second spot.
After a slow start, Indian player grew in confidence and started to control the midfield in the first half. In the 11th minute, skipper Sunil Chhetri played a wonderful through ball to Ashique, who forced a brilliant save from the UAE keeper.
Few minutes later, a glorious chance presented itself to the Indian captain but he couldn’t convert either. Udanta Singh passed the ball to Anirudh Thapa on the right flank and he sent in a curling cross, only for Chhetri to hit the ball straight at the keeper.
In the 41st minute, UAE broke the deadlock against the run of play. Indian defender Anas Edathodika was caught napping and Ali Mabkhout stole the ball right in front of him. He then passed the ball to Khalfan Mubarak who beat goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu from tight angle.
India began the second half brightly and were close on multiple occasions to restore parity. Substitute Jeje Lapheklua unleashed a volley drive from the edge of the box and the ball went just wide of the target in the 53rd minute.
Then two minutes later, Udanta played an excellent one-two with Chhetri and his shot rattled the crossbar.
In the dying minutes of the game, a long ball found Mabkhout free inside the box and put the ball emphatically past the Indian custodian in the 88th minute.
India then hit the post once more in the last few minutes of the game but couldn’t convert and lost the match 2-0. India next play Bahrain in their last group game on Monday.