XtraTime Web Desk: Unlucky India goes down fighting against mighty hosts UAE in the AFC Asian Cup by 0-2 today. The Blue Tigers played their heart out but eventually missed series of opportunities and finally ended up in the losing end.
India started of brilliantly as Chhetri intercepted a dodgy pass in the 12th minute and released Ashique on the run. The Pune City man dribbled his heart out and took a shot from 15 yards, Eisa put a hand out and saved a genuine chance.
In the 23rd minute India got another excellent chance. Udanta had run Saleh ragged and toyed around with him. He gave it back to Thapa and the cross into the box was headed by Chhetri but Eisa made a wonderful save.
UAE took full toll of a defensive lapse by India in the 42nd minute and grabbed a crucial lead. Mabkhout ran in from the right side and laid it for Khalfan on the edge of the box. Thapa could not get near it and Anas was nowhere in sight as the 23-year-old beat Gurpreet across and scored his maiden international goal.
India got another chance immediate in the next minute when Sunil Chhetri got on the end of the ball with the UAE defence in splits. He tried to cut into the far corner with Eisa was beaten but missed by literally an inch.
India’s luck betrayed big time in the 55th minute when Jeje sliced it to Udanta and then a one-two back from Chhetri and the winger took the shot which rattled the crosspiece from the exact spot from where Khalfan scored in the first half.
UAE doubled the lead and ensured the victory in the 89th minute when Salmin lobbed the ball from his own half and Mabkhout took the ball brilliantly, shinned it down, beat Kotal on the shimmy and deposited the ball into Gurpreet’s net.
India’s luck betrayed once more in the added time when Borges floated the ball and Jhingan connected a brilliant header but India counted themselves really really unlucky tonight as it came off the crosspiece.