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Asian Cup 2019: 5 Things We Learned as India lose to UAE  

Alby Issac
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
3.10K   //    11 Jan 2019, 12:26 IST

India's finishing was not up to the mark. Photo Courtesy: Indian Football Twitter handle
India's finishing was not up to the mark. Photo Courtesy: Indian Football Twitter handle

The United Arab Emirates brought India back down to earth at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, as the Blue Tigers went down 2-0 to the hosts.

One goal each in both the halves ensured that the hosts get to the top of the table with 4 points, while India dropped down to the second position in Group A.

However, a win or even a draw against UAE would have eased the proceedings against Bahrain. The two moments of shock for India came in the 41st minute, from Khalfan Mubarak and in the 88th minute from Ahmed Mabkhout, two situations where the Indian defence should have raised the standards.

A dismal show from the visitors throughout the match saw them have no real control over the game on the field. Keeping the few instances the attackers came very close, Indian attacks were not as organised or developed as they were against Thailand. The midfield strategy of not letting the opposition break in even after keeping possession couldn't be successfully implemented at Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening.

Here, we look at 5 things we have learned from India's first loss in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.


#5 India's finishing found wanting

There was no doubt that it was India's attackers who won the game for the Constantine & Co against the War Elephants. However, fielding the same starting lineup against UAE did not do the team much help. The team was able to get into the UAE box on various occasions, but missed the finishing touch every single time.

The final touch of the ball never got easy for team India, as they couldn't convert four clear chances in the first half. Jhingan's header in the early minutes of the game was a threatening one, that went near the crossbar. Just 4 minutes later, Ashique Kuruniyan launched a powerful shot from his right foot, only to be denied by the custodian Khalid Eisa, as the youngster aimed for the minor angle to get the ball in.

This time Sunil Chhetri couldn't get past the keeper to convert his easy header from a close range, resulting from a cross from the right wing. In the late seconds of the first half, an opportunity when India good have caught up the important draw also was not on target. The Indian skipper's shot, evading two defenders and with the goalkeeper not in any chance of saving it, went inches away from goal.

In the second half too, substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua went just wide of the UAE goal in 53rd minute. A few minutes later, Udanta Singh's hopeful shot hit the crossbar, just to keep India's scoreboards nil. In the very last minute of the game, India's try for a relieving goal too was denied by the crossbar coming in between.

It was not once or twice did India's faulty finishing was evident in the match. India lost when good domination couldn't be turned into good finishes.


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