India Vs UAE : India draws 2-2 Match Report
India win hearts, hold UAE
India 2 (Jeje Lalpeklua – 74th, Gourmangi Singh – 90th)
UAE 2 (Mohamed Al Shehhi (38th); Ali Al Wahabi (70th)
The afternoon humidity promised a heavy shower and the Heavens opened up four hours prior to the kick-off. And then again, half-an-hour prior, the Heavens opened up once again. Playing at their ‘fortress,’ – the Ambedkar Stadium, it was Advantage India, especially with the rain continuing for most part of the match.
Team India didn’t disappoint. Spurred on by the Full-House who braved the downpour, Team India came back from two goals down to hold UAE 2-2 in the second-leg of the World Cup Qualifier at the Ambedkar Stadium.
It was a morale victory for India.
But despite winning the battle, India lost the war as UAE made it to the next round winning 5-2 on aggregate. India’s Road to Rio ended at the ‘Fortress.’
Team India Coach Armando Colaco said: “This is the beginning of a new era in Indian football. When I backed the juniors, many had raised eyebrows. But the boys played a spirited game.”
He wasn’t wrong. The Lalrindika Ralte-Jeje Lalpeklua combine brought loud cheers to the crowd when Jeje headed in best pal Dika’s cross in the 74th minute for his eighth International Goal and India’s first goal of the match.
And then in 90th minute, Gourmangi Singh blasted in off a melee to draw level.
“Jeje is a strong boy. He just needs to make some minor adjustments to his game. And he is learning fast,” Colaco added. “11 vs 11 could have been different,” he lamented, referring to India’s 3-0 loss in the first-leg.
Earlier, much against the run of play UAE took the lead in the 38th minute. Ahmed Khalil, who had his free-kick tipped over by goalkeeper Karanjit Singh ran past Samir Naik down the right flank, ran into the box and centered for striker Mohamed Al Shehhi to head it in past Karanjit.
In the second half, Ali Al Wahabi volleyed it in to make it 2-0.
“We always had a Plan B in place. The boys adopted fast to the conditions. We needed to run all over. The boys did that and that entertained the crowd,” Colaco maintained.
UAE’s Slovenia’s coach Srecko Katanec paid tribute to the Full House at the Ambedkar. “In UAE, we hardly get any crowd in a match. But here, the crowd inspired Team India to play to their potential. It’s a positive sign no doubt.”
India: Karanjit Singh; Samir Naik, Gourmangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Raju Gaikwad, Rahim Nabi; Steven Dias (Lalrindika Ralte), Mehtab Hossain, Climax Lawrence (C), Clifford Miranda (Jewel Raja); Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpeklua.
UAE: Al Khaseif; Walid Abbas, Hamdan Al Kamali, Yousef Jaber; Amer Abdul Rahaman, Ali Al Wehabi, Amir Mubarak; Khalid Sebil, Mohamed Al Shehhi, Ahmed Khalil, Ismail Hammadi.