AFC ASIAN CUP: India crash out after heartbreaking loss to Bahrain

Sharjah, January 14, 2019: India paid a heavy penalty as they crashed out of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Bahrain at the Sharjah Stadium on Monday.

The loss meant that India finished at the bottom of Group A!

Jamal Rashed’s 91st-minute spot-kick broke Indian hearts as Bahrain ran out winners despite a solid defensive performance from Stephen Constantine’s team.

In what was a nervy start India replaced the injured Anas Edathodika with Salam Ranjan Singh in the early minutes of the game. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was on his toes as he brilliantly kept out Komail’s shot from outside the box in the 5th minute.

As Bahrain frustrated India by holding on to possession in the opening minutes the Blue Tigers on the other hand missed a good chance to score when Ashique Kuruniyan’s header off Pritam Kotal’s cross was blocked by the opposition defence. Also, Halicharan Nazary’s effort in the 22nd minute hit the side-netting.

Come the half-hour mark and India were passing exquisitely in the Bahrain box! Pronay Halder’s pass found Halicharan on the wings with the latter dribbling and laying off for Sunil Chhetri. Only a last-ditch tackle from a Bahrain defender stopped Chhetri before he could shoot on goal from less than 10 yards out!

Though Bahrain controlled possession the Blue Tigers still defended well with Sandesh Jhingan marshaling the back-line. Also India’s midfielders, who looked compact throughout, rushed to defend at times, thus restricting Bahrain to long-ranged shots.

Tight defending meant that Bahrain could not create problems for India despite raiding the box at times. Skipper Pronay Halder made a crucial goal-line clearance in the dying minutes of the first half to keep Bahrain at bay.

Coach Constantine added more spark in attack as he brought in Jeje Lalpekhlua for Ashique Kuruniyan at the half-way mark. But then it was defence (and not attack) where India did well as Halder and Jhingan frustrated Bahrain.

The duo gave India’s strikers the necessary cover and space to execute attacks. Jhingan also made a crucial sliding tackle in the 60th minute to deny Bahrain a clear goal after a cross from the right flank had gone unchecked.

Udanta Singh also got into the thick of defensive action later and made a sensational tackle in the Indian box to rob Bahrain of possession. Though Singh had earlier been hauled down near the Bahrain box still the resulting free-kick was sent over the bar by Chhetri.

Bahrain had an indirect free-kick inside the box in the 73rd minute (Sandhu had collected a back pass) but then India’s defenders kept the ball out by flinging bodies in the way.

Sandhu also pulled off a world-class save in the 83rd minute to deny Bahrain a goal from a close-range header. The rebound was excellently blocked off by Kotal!

But then it all went to naught as Pronay Halder brought down Hamad Al Shamsan inside the box during the dying minutes of the game .

And as Jamal Rashed converted from the spot…India’s dreams had gone to pieces!

INDIA: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika (4’ – Salam Ranjan Singh), Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose; Udanta Singh, Pronay Halder (C), Rowllin Borges, Halicharan Narzary (79’ – Anirudh Thapa), Ashique Kuruniyan (45’ – Jeje Lalpekhlua), Sunil Chhetri.


Also Read: Constantine resigns after India gets knocked out of AFC Asian Cup

Also Read: AFC ASIAN CUP: Aware of progress of Indian football: Dato Windsor John

Follow Football Counter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football.

SSE BFC to conduct trials for U9 to U17 age group players

SSE BFC Soccer School will be conducting fresh trials this month for players aged below 17 to be part of their football program SSE BFC Soccer Schools is a football…


India Khelo Football Season 3 Trials for Mumbai and Thane are here

India Khelo Football (IKF) is back with Season 3 of its widely acclaimed trials with an aim to cover more than 50 cities this time around. After the resounding success…


Mastering the Art of Football Trials: Key Pre-Trial Factors to Keep in Mind

Football trials are a critical juncture for aspiring players to showcase their skills and secure a spot in a team. To maximize your chances of success, it’s essential to tailor your approach based on your playing position as well as keeping in mind a few pre-trial factors.


Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign

Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…


BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls

The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…


Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team

Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…


The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back

The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…


BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb

Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE).  Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…


India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career

After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…


Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League

Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…