Too many of the Blue Tigers’ key performers failed to rise to the occasion in the crunch Asian Cup clash against Bahrain.
India crashed out of the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup once again, falling to defeat against Bahrain, thanks to a penalty which was given away by Pronay Halder. Constantine’s ultra-defensive lineup sans the creativity of Anirudh Thapa, ensured that India were running hard, but to no result-oriented effect.
The entire team was drained out as Halder put in a tired tackle that won Bahrain the match and a place in the knockout rounds, plunging the Indian fans in the stands and at home into utter despair. Here are the player ratings from the game.
Watch: India 0-1 Bahrain highlights
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu- 6.0
After a shaky start, Gurpreet stabilized and became the calming influence he has been throughout the tournament. His long balls were mostly on point and aided the Indian attack quite well, while also organizing defenders. Gurpreet did a good job keeping Bahrain at bay and needs to be calmer in between the sticks going forward.
His save off a free-kick in the 61st minute was what capped off his evening, as he looked content having played his rightful part, before having to concede a penalty goal due to the fault of his captain Halder.
Pritam Kotal- 7.0
Kotal bounced back considerably from the previous game, where he was below-par and was actively involved in the attack as well as defence. He looked the bigger man against the Bahraini wingers and showed why he is considered by a few to be one of India’s prime right-backs.
Sandesh Jhingan- 7.0
Jhingan was spectacular once Salam Ranjan Singh settled in alongside him. He was able to get involved in active play and fulfil his defensive potential as he tackled, blocked and denied, time and again, the Bahrain team any chance to take the lead. He was almost perfect in all that he did and showed why he could be trusted on the big occasion.
Anas Edathodika- NA
Anas had to go off injured in the third minute as he made way for Salam Ranjan Singh’s Asia Cup debut.
Subhashish Bose- 7.0
Bose looked very strong and stuck to his guns throughout the game. He is a prime example of India’s young guns progressing and going from strength-to-strength. He looked exquisite on the ball and his deft tackles meant that he was always doing the job he was assigned.
He was unfairly adjudged to have made a back-pass, while intercepting the ball. But, Sunil Chhetri’s organization of the defensive line was close to perfect, as the indirect free-kick soared high over the bar.
Pronay Halder- 5.0
Halder wore the captain’s armband and carried himself like a superhero wearing a cape in the middle of the park. He tackled with the highest of confidence and made sure that it was near impossible to play connected football for Bahrain, when he was nearby.
He played the role of the defensive midfielder excellently, but was left standing disappointed as his creative counterpart, Thapa was absent from the game. He put in a horrid tackle in the dying minutes of the game, that cost India a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds of the tournament.
Rowllin Borges- 6.5
Borges was exquisite on the dead-ball and an excellent defensive midfielder, but wasn’t a like-for-like replacement for the creative presence of Thapa, who did not feature in the match. Rowllin, however, made sure his defensive duties were performed quite well and played the more silent of the two CDM’s selected by Constantine to steady the ship.
Ashique Kuruniyan- 6.0
Kuruniyan was not the man he was in the first two games. Could have been just fatigue or the excellent work of the Bahraini defecse to mark him out of the game, which meant that Constantine had to go to the drawing board and unleash Jeje Lalpekhlua in the second half. Still, Ashique’s impact couldn’t be understated and he did well despite the dogged marking.
Udanta Singh- 7.5
Singh was fast, but looked burnt out by the 75th minute. He was excellent till then; putting in some good crosses and linking up well with Chhetri. But, the highlight of his match was the in-box tackle against the stronger Bahraini opponent, which would otherwise have been a sure shot goal.
Halicharan Narzary- 5.5
He played as an ideal winger in the first 30 minutes of the game, but that was that. Narzary struggled going forward for the rest of the match. The winger could have of course done better to show why Constantine had so much faith in him.
Sunil Chhetri- 7.5
He must have been disappointed with the way the game ended. The only man on the pitch who after 90 minutes, still had something left in the tank, could not see his team through, as India crashed out of the tournament. Being the leader, Chhetri was clearly seen, especially in the build-up to that one indirect free-kick, where he orchestrated India’s escape.
But, had it not been for the man wearing the armband on the night, he would have had his last hurrah, seeing India through to the knockouts. Would the game have ended differently with him wearing the armband?
Salam Ranjan Singh- 6.0
Was a liability for the team in the first few minutes of the game, but proved sturdier than Anas. His lack of game-time in the I-league clearly showed, as his disappointing defending was a product of lack of playing competitively. Could have been better.
Jeje Lalpekhlua- 5.0
Only for the first two minutes of his stay did he have any impact on the game, following which he was almost invisible. An average performance at best from the Chennaiyin FC striker.
Anirudh Thapa- NA
He was touted as the lynchpin of India’s fantastic opening display in the tournament and his absence proved why. Came on in the last few minutes and could not impact the game much.
Sayeed Alawi Hashem- 7.0
Had very little to do in goal. His impact on the game was negligible with India playing defensively.
Sayed Isa- 7.5
Ensured India did not have any sting in their attack, as he warded off any potential threat and was sharp in the gameplay.
Hammad Al Shamsan- 7.0
Ensured that India’s attacks were broken and was adept in giving clear instructions to his teammates.
Waleed Al Hayem- 7.5
Was quick to dismiss any onrushing attack and tackled like an experienced campaigner.
Ahmed Juma: 7.5
The game was won i- defence and his ability on the ball was without question outstanding.
Abdulwahab Al Safi- 8.0
Had an easy game in the midfield, as he experienced very less pressure and had the brilliant support of his teammates to give him the attacking edge.
Kamil Al Aswad- 7.5
Controlled the majority of the possession and was constructively tackling where needed to ensure that Bahrain got their fair share of chances.
Ali Madan- 6.5
Was rash in the middle of the park and attracted an early substitution in the second half, as his coach deemed him better off on the bench.
Jamel Rashid- 7.0
Tormented the Indian defenders, but was not up to the task to create a large number of chances. Took the historic penalty that knocked India out of the tournament.
Sayeed Dhiya Saeed- 7.5
He was always there, breathing down the neck of Sandesh, but failed to threaten the goal as he was warded off by a brilliant Gurpreet.
Mohammed Al Romaihi- 6.5
Was taken off in the 80th minute, but that just triggered an attacking response from the Bahrainis, showing that his absence made a positive difference in the game.
Adullah Yusuf Helal- 6.5
Mohamed Marhoon- 7.0
Sami Al-Husaini- NA