Stephen Constantine’s men were also guilty of missing many clear chances.
India tasted their first defeat of the AFC Asian Cup against a formidable United Arab Emirates side who did just enough to ensure that the Blue Tigers’ missed opportunities cost them dear. Five different players came close to scoring for India, but Ali Makhbout and his compatriots got the better of them by scoring and converting despite their fewer chances.
Watch: India 0-2 United Arab Emirates highlights
This is how the two set of players fared in the game:
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu- 7.0
Gurpreet had to intercept many crosses in the game, but he looked like he was there for catching practice. If his defenders hadn’t let him down, the clean-sheet would have been deservedly his. He did not need to produce something fancy, but was always on the mark, ensuring the ball was kept out of the net. Great game even in defeat for the Bengaluru FC man.
Pritam Kotal- 5.0
Pritam was excellent going forward, but was woeful while defending. His errors in either half nearly cost India dearly. His game rating went downhill as the match progressed and his judgement of the ball became very questionable. Needs to do a lot more if he even wants to remotely mirror his performance against Thailand.
Sandesh Jhingan- 6.0
His headers in the attacking end troubled UAE, creating at least a few cracks in that crossbar. While in his own half rescued India from being absolutely hammered. But sadly was let down by his defensive partner which dropped Jhingan’s gameplay to sticking deep in the backline and restricting his movement forward.
Anas Edathodika- 4.0
Two back-to-back mistakes by Anas, when he was caught napping in the first half’s 41st minute, led to the UAE’s winning goal which has put India’s hopes of knockout rounds qualification in jeopardy. He looked lethargic in the second half and totally out of shape, as he struggled to keep the backline fresh.
Subhashish Bose- 6.0
Was stifled by Bandar and his famous forays forward were marked out. Bose had to cover Edathodika following his drop in standard and thus, was limited in providing width to the attack. His long balls though were on point and greatly boosted India’s morale, but that proved to be inconsequential, thanks to the abysmal display by the team.
Pronay Halder- 5.0
Struggled hugely to have any influence after the first 30 minutes. He was wasteful with the ball and forced Sunil Chhetri to fall back and play the midfielder. His wastefulness was appalling and it was surprising that manager Stephen Constantine chose to withdraw the hard working Anirudh Thapa over him. Rowlin Borges did a better job when he came on, but was restricted due to Halder’s abysmal gameplay.
Anirudh Thapa- 7.0
India looked very sharp till this kid was on the pitch. He rattled the opposition back four and put in excellent balls to ensure that the defenders struggled to keep up with him. He was agile enough to move away from the tackles, while marauding forward and looked twice his size against a formidable UAE midfield.
Ashique Kuruniyan- 7.0
Ashique seems to be as irreplaceable as his captain and he troubled the UAE defence till the final whistle was blown. He cut in, jumped over, got tackled, made a few tackles and overall, played the absolute perfect Robin to Chhetri’s Batman.
Even, when in the second half he was pushed out wide, he continued his impressive runs and high work-rate. His first half strike through a Chhetri through-ball was the highlight of his game, even though Bilal palmed it away.
Udanta Singh- 5.5
Had a very indifferent game and looked very dissatisfied with his own performance. Although he started off great with Gurpreet sending in long balls which he used to rattle the opposition, he faded in and out of the game for the rest of it. His cross/shot that hit the crossbar brought a crescendo of cheers.
Halicharan Narzary- 6.0
Narzary was only half the player he was in the previous game and was not heavily influential in the activities on the attacking front. He did track back at times and helped cover Bose, but his influence was sorely lacking in the match, as he was taken off at the end of the first 45 to bring in Jeje Lalpekhlua to influence the attack.
Sunil Chhetri- 8.0
In his great modesty, Chhetri had said India doesn’t need more Chhetris, but if today India had four Sunil’s upfront and down the middle, the game would have had a different conclusion. His headers were on target and his ravishing through balls made for a mesmerizing show.
He would surely be disappointed, as India lost a game that they should have won had the chances created been taken. The team has let down the captain in this game.
Rowllin Borges- 7.0
Came on to stabilize the midfield and tried to do too many things, from running the midfield to being a defensive screen. He was overtaxed and under-supported, leading him to fare quite averagely. If he had started the game alongside Thapa, it would have been quite a different story.
Jeje Lalpekhlua- 6.0
Jeje not starting the game wasn’t missed as Ashique has been exceptional, but his gameplay did encourage the Blue Tigers. Lalpekhlua came close, but he chose style over substance and thus let a wonderful opportunity go to waste.
Jackichand Singh- N/A
United Arab Emirates
Khalid Bilal- 7.0
Khalid was the thorn in India’s side, as he pulled off save after saves and did not let the Blue Tigers settle for even a minute in his box. His quick thinking and reflexes saved the UAE from conceding at least three goals in the first 30 minutes of the game itself.
Ali Salmin- 7.0
Defended well in all circumstances and made a commendable contribution to the team and their effort to win the game.
Khalifa Ghanim- 7.0
Was sturdy and disciplined throughout the game and it was difficult to shake him. However, Ashique did get under his skin briefly.
Bandar Mohammed- 7.0
What a presence down the right wing he was, beating the Indian defenders and causing all types of problems.
Ali Mabkhout- 9.0
He was the star of the UAE team who led from the front and finished off a glorious chance to ensure that the game was put to bed. Him rattling Anas paid huge dividends for his team who marched off comfortably.
Khamees Esmaeel- 7.0
Played a creative influence for the Arabs and guided the team from the middle of the park with strong command.
Amer Abdulrahman- 6.0
Had a little difficulty adapting to the Indian high press, but was able to shrug it off later in the game just before being subbed off.
Ismail Al Hamadi- 7.5
A great defender for the UAE, as he led from the back and did not get scared to put his body on the line. His clash of heads with Jhingan was gruesome, but he bounced back from the heavy bleed and was up to his usual business in the second half.
Alhasan Eas- 7.5
Played attractive and attacking football to bring joy to the home crowd and vastly influenced the attacks.
Ismail Ahme- 7.0
Strong and robust in attack, but slightly wasteful in the middle of the park. Has the tactical nous to get around his errors.
Khaflan Mubarak- 8.5
Scoring a goal and yet keeping his calm was the hallmark of his game on Thursday. Led the line WELL and kept his chin up even when India pressed hard.
Majed Hassan Ahmad- 6.5
Mohammed Gharib- NA
Ismaeil Matar- NA