Indian Football Team

Asian Games Football RO16: Three talking points as India lose to Saudi Arabia

Yash Pratap SinghYash Pratap Singh
September 28 2023

India displayed a valiant effort against favourites Saudi Arabia in the Asian Games RO16 clash.

The Indian national men’s football team’s journey at the 2023 Asian Games came to an end with a 0-2 defeat to Asian giants Saudi Arabia. The Blue Tigers put up a strong fight and gave everything that they had, but couldn’t prevent the opponent from scoring.

It was a game with a lot of learnings and India did perform better than anyone would’ve expected them to. Nonetheless, it has been a campaign to remember for India at the Asian Games.

On that note, let us take a look at the key talking points from the game.

3. India fail to capitalise on their chances

The Blue Tigers started the game on the back-foot and were defensive initially. But as the game progressed they grew in confidence and had a few chances to go ahead, but they couldn’t make the most out of it.

Saudi Arabia made quite a few mistakes which could have resulted in a goal for India, but Sunil Chhetri’s side just couldn’t capitalise on their chances. India’s mistake of not converting their chances came back to haunt them as Saudi Arabia scored twice.

2. Defensive errors cost India the game

As mentioned earlier, India had a very pragmatic approach to the game and played a low block setup. They put up a good performance in the first half and did not allow Saudi Arabia to score past them.

But, it was a completely different story in the second half. It was a shaky performance from the Blue Tigers at the back as they failed to anticipate aerial duels, gave away the ball cheaply, and even struggled to time their challenges to perfection. 

1. Saudi Arabia rising star – Mohammed Khalil Marran

India put up a disciplined performance in the first half of the game and everything went as per plan. They kept Saudi Arabia in check and did not allow them any opportunities to go ahead. But, everything changed in the second half after Saudi Arabia’s wonderkid Mohammed Khalil Marran started delivering. 

The Al-Nassr forward completely changed the complexion of the game with a couple of goals in quick succession. He was simply amazing and a treat to watch. His movements with and without the ball changed the game for the Green Falcons. He really was the point of difference between the two sides.

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