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India vs. UAE: A Game of Missed Chances

India vs UAE AFC Asian Cup, the game did not pan out the way footballing fans from the country expected it to.

ND
Last updated: 12.01.2019
India vs UAE | Sports Social Blog

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Coming off a historic 4-1 thrashing of Thailand in the group opener, India’s hopes were buoyant heading into the second match against UAE. The team was only a win away from ensuring qualification to the knockout stages for the first time. Alas, the game did not pan out the way footballing fans from the country expected it to.


India went into the match with an unchanged starting line-up. The hosts started off brightly and were dominating possession but none of the two sides was creating clear opportunities in the final third. The first chance of the game fell to India in the eighth minute as Sandesh Jhingan got free of his marker and lashed onto a free header only to watch it sail over the top. In the 13th minute, Ashique Kuruniyan was set up well after a deft move and went one on one with the keeper but could not capitalise on the opportunity as the keeper stood tall. India got into the game and started to win the midfield battles and looked like creating opportunities every now and then. Udanta Singh looked bright throughout the time he was on the field and was the chief constructor in the midfield. The best chance of the night fell to Sunil Chhetri as Anirudh Thapa found him with a precise cross. Chhetri, a poacher in front of the goal unleashed an excellent header but once again, the UAE keeper was up to the task.  


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In Pics: Sunil Chhetri 

India was dominating possession, winning aerial duels and playing some excellent football before calamity struck in the 41st minute. A serious piece of miscommunication between centre back pair Sandesh Jhingan and Anas led to Ali Mabkhout winning possession very easily and he calmly found Khaflan Mubarak who coolly slotted the ball in to help the host take the lead. India was on hands to respond almost immediately but Chhetri’s shot went a whisker wide of the post.


In Pics: Udanta Singh

At the beginning of the second half, in the hopes of finding an equalizer, India responded by making an attacking change as Jeje replaced Narzary. India was definitely the better team and almost found the equalizer after a brilliant one-two between Chhetri and Udanta found the latter taking aim only to hit the crossbar. Playing more attacking football, India kept pegging away but to no avail. They made their remaining two changes in order to bring in fresh legs and managed to hit the bar once again before the match was sealed in the 88th minute. Ali Mabkhout who was UAE’s most hardworking player on the night led the counter and finished it off as India were caught on the break. The hosts were joyous as the Indian players sunk to their knees in agony. It was a case of the better team losing the match.


India currently stands second in the group behind UAE with one game to go. The two spots are still up for grabs and all the four teams are in contention for qualification. India plays Bahrain next on Monday, 14th January and they will be no pushovers. Here’s hoping that India finds its luck and continues scoring goals en route to qualification to the next stage. It is time to stand behind the Tigers and back the nation’s dream.


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