Twitter reacts as the Blue Tigers bow out of the AFC Asian Cup 2019
54 years! That’s how long India had waited to overturn the table in their favour for a possible knockout berth at the AFC Asian Cup.
A big occasion awaited the Blue Tigers as they played Bahrain in their last group stage match at Sharjah, requiring just a draw to seal a place in the Round of 16.
Coming on the back of a win and a loss against Thailand and UAE respectively, India looked a firm favourite to get a positive result out of this game.
Stephen Constantine went with one change in the starting line-up by replacing Anirudh Thapa with Rowllin Borges and handed Pronay Halder the captain’s Armband for the match.
India had a shaky start as Anas Edathodika forced himself out of the game following an injury within five minutes from the start and was replaced by East Bengal’s Salam Ranjan Singh who got his first game of the tournament.
Bahrain made their intentions clear early on, as they mounted on a flurry of attacks on the Indian defense which was well marshaled by with Sandesh Jhingan in the lead.
India looked below par in today’s match as compared to their other performances in this tournament.
Lack of attacking chances and the inability to hold the ball in the middle created a lot of space and lack of possession for India and provided a lot of chances for Bahrain to capitalise- who in-turn failed to utilise most of those chances.
By the stroke of half-time India had managed to gather some rhythm in the game and it seemed that a disciplined performance in the next 45 would be enough to steer India through to history.
Constantine and India went with a defensive approach in the second half, which allowed Bahrain to come out with the ball and dominate possession. Even when India got their bits of possessions, they favoured clearing the ball than holding it in the middle.
With a constant threat looming, it seemed only a matter of time that India comes close to conceding and one such instance came in the 70th minute of the game when an indirect freekick was awarded off a backpass made to Gurpreet.
Although that was avoided, thanks to a crowded defense inside the box, constant threats continue to haunt India till the 90th minute of the game.
The cloud finally burst at the stroke of normal time as captain Pronay Halder fouled Hamad Al Samshan inside the box to put the nail in India’s coffin.
Jamal Rashed who took the penalty made no mistakes from the spot and shattered India’s hopes of making it to the Round of 16.
The UAE-Thailand game which ended in a 1-1 draw further confirmed the result of India’s Asian Cup campaign coming to an end.
The Indian Team would be very disappointed with the result and especially after coming this close to history; the result will bite the players for the years to come. It will also be a tough night for a man like Sunil Chhetri who might be playing his last Asian Cup for India.
Soon after the match Head Coach, Stephen Constantine also stepped down from his post leaving the fans much to talk about.
Here’s how Twitter reacted after the game: