Newspaper Round-Up: How Dailies Covered India's Loss to Bahrain, Exit from Asian Cup
Going into the match, India needed just a draw to make the Round of 16. Stephen Constantine, the head coach who stepped down from his position after the defeat, played for a draw and that eventually cost India dear.
Pronay Halder clipped Hamad Mahmood Alshamsan inside the penalty box after a goalline melee in the first minute of injury. Jamed Rashed converted from the spot to break Indian hearts and send Bahrain through.
India dropped to the fourth spot on Group A with 3 points in 3 games. Bahrain surged ahead with 4 points. Thailand, also on 4 points, finished second because of their better head-to-head record against Bahrain. The hosts UAE were the group winners.
India raised the expectations of an entire country with their 4-1 win over Thailand in the opener. They then lost 0-2 to the UAE but the Bahraini game handed them a golden opportunity to make the last-16.
However, India's tactics were pretty poor. The defenders resorted to firing long balls as soon as they won possession in the defensive third. The strikers - Ashique Kuruniyan (and then Jeje Lalpekhlua) and Sunil Chhetri - were unable to break Bahrain on the counter.
Probably, Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup was aware of Constantine's tactics before the game and got his gameplan spot on. India did not adapt to the situation and tried the same things over and over again - to no avail.
Qualifying to the Round of 16 would have been a gamechanger for Indian football but the Blue Tigers could not cross the final hurdle.
How did India's top newspapers cover the Asian Cup game and India's subsequent exit? Given the match kicked off at 9.30 pm IST, the newspapers only had a limited amount of space dedicated to the game because of their printing deadlines.
Yet, all the dailies had enough on the game and Constantine's resignation.
Here's a selection of all those newspaper clippings:
#1 Hindustan Times
#2 New Indian Express
The New Indian Express gave a prominent display for India's Asian Cup campaign. Visit their epaper on epaper.newindianexpress.com.
#4 Times of India
The Mumbai edition of the Times of India had this spread for the India v Bahrain match. Visit their epaper by clicking here.
#5 Indian Express
Readers can open the image in a new tab to read the text. Access the full story on epaper.indianexpress.com
#6 Mumbai Mirror
This was Mumbai Mirror's display for the India v Bahrain match. Visit their epaper by clicking here.
#7 Mail Today
#8 The Hindu
Access the article by clicking here.