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AFC Asian Cup 2019: India Lose 0-2 to Hosts UAE in Group A

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India fought bravely but went down 2-0 to UAE in their second group game of the AFC Asian Cup at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night. Goals in each half from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Ahmed Mabkhout fired UAE to the top of Group A.

Although the Blue Tigers created more chances than the home side in the first half and were denied by the post twice in the second half, Stephen Constantine’s men failed to score any and shipped two goals.

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Even after the hard-to-swallow defeat, India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was full of praise for this teammates.

“I am proud of the boys. The way we performed today I don’t think people would have expected that. We were very unlucky; we could have scored two or three goals.”

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“It comes down to things which are not in our control. The way we conceded was soft. I would like to look into it and make sure it doesn’t happen. Things would have been different (if it did not go in). After the first half, we could have been 2-0, 3-0 up. But that is the way football works. It is unfair and cruel. They did not miss their chances, we missed ours.”

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He also felt that India matched UAE in all departments but they just could not capitalize.

“Physically, yes. Tactically yes, especially in the first half when we were forcing them to commit those mistakes. It did work out for us but unfortunately, we did not score.”

Former India goalkeeper and commentator Henry Menezes felt that India deserved more from the game.

“It was one of those days that India played so well but things didn’t go our way. We missed six golden chances and three of them were clear cut chances. The ball just did not go in. And we conceded two soft goals that did the thing for UAE.”

Also Read: India’s historic journey at the AFC Asian Cup over the years

India vs UAE: The Game

UAE put early pressure on India by creating a few chances in the opening minutes of the match but India quickly managed to organise themselves and find their feet.

Three huge chances went begging but credit should go to UAE goalkeeper Khalid Essa who denied Ashique Kuruniyan and Sunil Chhetri in the first half. Chhetri rued the missed chance as he was unmarked at the far post when Anirudh Thapa swung it in nicely only to see his captain head it straight into the body of Essa.


From thereon, UAE never gave India a chance to come back in the game and finally emerged victorious.

“It was a tight game. UAE is a good side, and they converted their chances. When you get your chances, you got to convert them. If we could have taken ours, it could have been different. We are still in the running. As a team, we are united and we are ready to fight, and that’s what we are going to do against Bahrain,” Chhetri said.

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Bhawna Kothari
Bhawna Kothari
Lover of cultures, varied colors, and underdogs, Bhawna is a by-heart and professional playwright. Hailing from a journalism & communication background, she incorporates a careful study at both flips of the coin which is essentially required to be analytical in thoughts and words. Actively abreast of the current affairs around the globe, she likes knowing and bringing into light the unexplored. Problem solving via the power of content is what inspires her and hence KreedOn, a platform created for the betterment of sports ecosystem in India, is now her happy workplace!


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