Indian National Team ended up on the losing side going down 0-2 to hosts United Arab Emirates in their second Group stage match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Khaflan Mubarak’s struck in the 41st minute after which Ali Mabkhout put the game to bed in 88th min for UAE and ensured that the host country continues their dominance over the Blue Tigers. However, Sunil Chhetri and his boys fought hard and did not surrender until the final whistle, defending with their lives and committing to every tackle.
In the first half, UAE enjoyed the majority of the possession but it was India who was winning the midfield battles and had more the shots on goal (3-1) than their opponents.
The first chance of the match came as early as in the 13th minute when Ashique was one on one with the goalkeeper but was denied by the keeper. Sunil Chhetri almost gave the breakthrough with another header but once again the keeper stood tall to deny the Blue Tigers.
Had India taken these chances, the Blue Tigers would have been up 3-0 in less than thirty minutes — such was the intensity of their counter-attacks which was promoted through the defensive solidity at the back. UAE scored against the run of play in the 40th minute. Khalfan Alhamsi took advantage of a slight miscommunication in the Indian defence and found the back of the net through a chip from a tight angle.
UAE scored against the run of play in the 40th minute. Khalfan Alhamsi took advantage of a slight miscommunication in the Indian defence and found the back of the net through a chip from a tight angle.
Constantine brought in Jeje Lalpekhlua in place of Halicharan Narzary and the Mizo forward, who scored two minutes after coming off the bench in the 4-1 mauling of Thailand, nearly did an encore in the 53rd minute. Jeje’s volley went inches off the post.
Three minutes later, India again experienced the so-near-yet-so-far moment when Udanta Singh’s shot ricocheted off the bar. But UAE got their act together and defended stoically. In the 88th minute of the match, Ali Mabkhout breached India’s defence outfoxing Pritam Kotal and found the back of the net to take it beyond India’s reach.
India still remains in the hunt for a knockout berth with three points from two outings. UAE climbed into the top spot with four points from two matches. The Indian team takes on Bahrain on Monday, 14 January 2019 in the final match of the group stage.