Monday, January 25, 2021

Indian men bow out of Asian Games football

Incheon, Sep 22 (IANS) India U-23 men’s campaign in Asian Games football ended Monday as they went down 0-2 to a superior Jordan side in the final Group G encounter here at the Munhak Stadium.

India earlier lost their opening encounter to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 0-5. Jordan, who fielded their U-21 side in the competition, rode on goals from Albashtawi Subhi Drzi and Thalji Yousef to seal the issue.

India, two-time Asian Games gold medallists, looked grittier in the initial exchanges. Seminlen Doungel – starting in place of Mandar Rao Desai – cantered some 40 yards down the left channel but his last touch let him down with the ball rolling out for a goal-kick. East Bengal’s Lalrindika Ralte was the other change ringed in by coach Wim Koevermans from the last game against UAE.

Jordan goalkeeper Abunabhan made a hash of Robin Singh’s teasing effort from just outside the box moments later, somehow latching on to the ball at the end. The intent was clear from India who had nothing to lose.

Robin then forced the keeper to another save before Jordan took the lead. Jordan took the lead as striker Albashtawi smashed home on the rebound after India custodian Amrinder Singh showed superb reflexes to parry away Israiwah’s initial effort from distance.

India’s best chance of the half came from skipper Sunil Chhetri’s shot that almost kissed the post on its way out. Jordan closed the half better and their noses ahead.

The second half started on a similar note but there were very few goalmouth moments until Robin powered a shot from 25 yards but goalkeeper got enough behind it to keep him at bay.

Moments later, the red shirts doubled their lead. A cutback from the right found Thalji at the far post and he took two touches to first turn Pritam Kotal inside out and then smash the ball past Amrinder at his near post.

India XI: Amrinder Singh, Pritam Kotal, Joyner Lourenco, Sandesh Jhinghan, Narayan Das, Siam Hanghal (Milan Singh – 75th), Lalrindika Ralte, Francis Fernandes, Seminlen Doungel, Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh

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