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FULL-TIME: Well, it just wasn’t to be India’s day today. The Blue Tigers gave an inspired performance, showing no signs of fear and keeping UAE pegged back at chunks of the game. The hosts were clinical going forward, scoring two clever goals through Khalfan Alshamsi and Ali Mabkhout. They go to the top of Group A with four points, while India are in second place on superior goal-difference to Thailand. The players should not be discouraged by this result as they played some brilliant football today. There’s all to play for on Monday against Bahrain. A positive result will see India through, while even a draw could be enough for qualification. This is Uttiyo Sarkar signing off for Khel Now. Goodnight and Thanks, Ladies & Gentlemen!
90+3′ OFF THE BAR AGAIN! Lady Luck is not in India’s favour today. A brilliant free-kick is floated in by Rowllin and meets Jhingan’s thunderous header which rattles off the post and out. Not India’s day today. The full-time whistle is played soon after that.
90+2′ India get a late free-kick on the left after Ashique is fouled. Can something be done now?
90′ UAE are playing the ball around knowing the game is won at this point. The Indian bench looks dejected, but the boys playing should be proud off their effort. 3 minutes of added time is announced.
89′ GOAL! MABKHOUT SEALS THE DEAL! The Blue Tigers were caught out in the break. A brilliant long-ball split open India’s defence and finds Ali Mabkhout. His first-touch is excellent and he takes his time before slotting it past Gurpreet. 2-0!
87′ The Indian players look tired but are doing their best to roll the ball. Can the Blue Tigers get the equalizer? Lets wait and watch.
85′ UAE make their final substitution. The goal-scorer Khalfan Alshamsi goes off and on comes Ismail Matar, whose a legendary figure in UAE football history.
83′ Jeje does really well to beat his marker and win the ball in the middle. However, he takes a knock after clashing with Ahmad. He’s back on his feet soon after going down.
81′ CLOSE! A fantastic cross-field long-ball is swung in by Sandesh to Chhetri. The captain fantastic lays it off strongly for Jeje, who slips in the last moment before he could take a shot.
79′ The Blue Tigers make their final substitution. Udanta Singh is taken off after picking up a slight knock and Jackichand Singh makes his AFC Asian Cup debut.
78′ The Whites are pressing high to get their second goal. They get consecutive corners, with the first one forcing a strong punch from Gurpreet. However, they can’t get a shot on target.
75′ CLOSE! UAE get a golden opportunity to get their second goal. Alshamsi plays in a clever ball to Alhammadi, who waits before taking a shot which flicks the posts to Gurpreet. Luckily for Gurpreet, the ball deflects off his body for a corner and not into his own net!
74′ More shaky defending from India! The free-kick falls to Kotal who can’t clear it away, but the ball deflects him to Gurpreet’s hands. Bit nervy there!
73′ Subhashish Bose gets a yellow card after a cynical foul to stop Alshamsi from going forward.
71′ Another clear corner isn’t awarded to India after it was flicked backwards by the UAE defenders. What is the assistant referee behind the goal doing?!
70′ India makes their second substitution. Rowllin Borges comes on for Anirudh Thapa to insert some energy in India’s midfield.
68′ Signs of desperation can be seen in India right now. The Blue Tigers are making cynical fouls in attempts to win the ball back. Should Constantine bring on another striker or winger? Tell us in the comments!
65′ A close chance for UAE. The Whites play their way into the final third and a great chipped ball is played to Alhammadi free inside the box, but the captain cannot control the ball well.
63′ And as predicted, Majed Ahmed comes on for Khamis Esmaeel. Meanwhile, a clear corner isn’t given when a clearance is recovered from outside the UAE line. The fans are incensed at this!
62′ UAE have visibly been rattled by the barrage of attacks and are slowing down the game by retaining possession. Their making a substitution as well, as Majed Ahmad is set to come on.
60′ A poor corner is attempted from Thapa and Jeje who tries to flick it in from an acute angle. However, India’s positive play has nspired the fans who are chanting “India! India” loudly from the stands to rally on their troops.
58′ CLOSE! Chhetri tries to dip the ball, but is unlucky as it goes sailing just over the bar. Eisa was worried for a bit there.
57′ A free-kick is given to India just outside the box! The ball is played from the left and found its way to Thapa, who tries to win the ball but is fouled by Ali Hassan Salmin.
55′ OFF THE BAR! Jeje does brilliantly to protect the ball before playing it to Udanta. The Flash plays a clever one-two with Chhetri before letting it rip from a tight angle, but has his shot rattle off the net. Painfully close!
54′ ALMOST! Thapa’s inviting free-kick isn’t cleared away too well by UAE and falls to Jeje. Like the other day, he tries a toe-poke and the ball goes whiskers away from the goal.
53′ Ashique Kuruniyan is shown the yellow-card for his foul earlier on. However, Pronoy earns the Blue Tigers a promising free-kick.
51′ Chhetri has some heated words with the referee after a relatively weak foul is given due to Alshamsi going down too easily after losing a battle with Ashique. Poor decision from the official.
49′ The Blue Tigers try to counter-attack after Pronoy wins back the ball. He passes it wide to Ashique, who is stopped by some smart defending from Khalifa Ghanim.
46′ The second half-kicks off! India are immediately on the attack and create a half-chance when the ball is played wide to Udanta, allowing the winger to send in a cross which is cleared away.
10:31 PM- Jeje Lalpekhlua has been brought on for Halicharan Narzary in an attacking change by Stephen Constantine! Ismail Mohamed, who was stretched off, is also going to continue!
HALF-TIME ANALYSIS: Well, what a cruel way to concede for the Blue Tigers. After getting the lions share of big chances throughout, a lapse in concentration from India’s defence allowed UAE to take a fortunate lead. Anas was too slow to clear in the long-ball and allowed Mabkhout to win it. Khalfan Mubarak Alshamsi did brilliantly to go past multiple defenders and slot in the ball home. However, India got a few encouraging shots on target and Eisa saved the hosts blushes so far. Stephen Constantine needs to give a pep-talk like the other day for the Blue Tigers to turn it around in the second half. We’ll be back with the action in 15 minutes! Stay tuned, folks!
45+2 Ismail has been stretched off the field. He should be replaced and soon after the game is underway again, the referee blows the whistle. Half-time!
45′ Worrying scenes here! A free-kick is played in which Jhingan and Mohamed both go for. They clash their heads and go down on the field immediately. Sandesh seems to be bleeding and Ismail’s down as well. Hopefully, both are fine!
43′ OH!! SO CLOSE! Gurpreet plays in a sensational long-ball which beats Mohamed and goes all the way to Chhetri inside the box. The captain takes an ambitious shot from a tight angle, but it goes inches wide of the target!
41′ GOAL! UAE TAKE THE LEAD! Absolutely against the run of play! A long ball is played and Anas cannot clear it away easily. Mabkhout gets to the ball and passes it to Alshamsi, who comes surging in and beats Thapa before scoring past Gurpreet from a tight angle!
40′ The Whites are being forced to take ambitious shots from long range. Mabkhout finds some space 35 yards out and takes a swipe at goal, only to see his attempt go well wide.
38′ Alberto Zaccheroni’s men are clearly being frustrated by India’s willy defending. There are one or two players behind every UAE player, not allowing freedom. The Whites create their first real chance after a corner isn’t cleared away and Alshamsi is allowed to take a shot which strikes the side-netting.
35′ Some strong defending from the Blue Tigers. UAE get two set-pieces, first a long free-kick which is flicked back for a corner. The corresponding corner is a weak one, as Halder does well to clear it from the near post.
32′ A chance for India to counter-attack when Narzary shows intelligence in retaining the ball on the left before playing it to his captain. Chhetri fights his way past a few defenders, but his ball to Ashique isn’t good enough.
29′ Dear me! India causes more problems with a short corner. Chhetri plays it to Thapa who lays it to Kotal. The midfielders’ cross is deflected and Mohamed can’t clear the ball well. Thankfully for him, Eisa got to the ball before Udanta. Nervy moment for the hosts.
27′ A bit of nerves in the Indian defence there. UAE try to create a chance from the left and while Amer Abdulla’s chip should’ve been cleared off easily, Kotal makes life difficult by flinging it right into the sky. However, Gurpreet does well to to collect it after it comes down and gives his defender an earful.
25′ Worries for Indian fans for a bit there. Sunil Chhetri clashes legs with defender Ismail Mohamed and goes down looking hurt. However, he seems to be fine now as the foul is given India’s way.
23′ WHAT A CHANCE! Udanta Singh does some great work on the right after being played free. However, he intelligently finds Thapa, who puts in a beautiful cross to Sunil Chhetri, whose emphatic header is parried away by Eisa. Brilliant save!
21′ Anirudh Thapa and Pronoy Halder are both being fored work hard into disabling UAE”s midfield. The hosts create a half-chance when a ball played from the wing is misskicked by Anas, falling to Ali Mabkhout. However, Pritam Kotal does brilliantly to clear the ball before he could let rip.
19′ Alberto Zaccheroni’s men have regained the flow of the game. They’re dominating possession again, playing in some promising passes in the final third. However, India are defensively well set-up and aren’t allowing them to play the killer pass.
16′ The Blue Tigers are making the most use of the wings, with Halicharan Narzary getting some space to run into. He plays it to Ashique in the middle, who lays it for Chhetri. However, the captain takes one too many touches and loses the ball, forcing Thapa to foul UAE’s midfielder to stop their counter-attack.
13′ Jhingan is causing all the problems in set-pieces. Another well-worked short corner is played to Thapa to put in a cross, which is won by Sandesh, but goes wide of the target.
11′ The Blue Tigers have dug their heels into the game. The players are showing nice composure in the ball and not losing it like they did earlier on. Sunil Chhetri does brilliantly to win back the ball in the middle, before sending Ashique through on goal. Kuruniyan is one-on-one with Eisa and has his shot brilliantly saved by the keeper. What a chance!
8′ CHANCE! Anirudh Thapa plays in a brilliant ball from the corner which finds Sandesh Jhingan, whose diving header is way wide the mark. Should’ve done better!
7′ Goalkeeper Khalid Eisa was a lucky man to avoid a yellow card after he came out to clear the ball and intentionally kicked it before India could take a quick throw-in. The Blue Tigers are using their wing play to their advantage and Pritam Kotal earns a corner with a compelling run into the box.
5′ UAE have enjoyed the lions share of possession so far. An ambitious cross-field ball is played out the defence to the Khalfan Alshamsi who was through on goal, but Gurpreet did well to rush ahead and collect the ball.
3′ India are being pressurized to relentless attacking moves in the early minutes. With some great crosses from the wings, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is forced to punch multiple balls away from his box.
1′ AND WE KICKOFF! UAE, in white, get the game underway, attacking from the right to left. They’re looking to move forward right from the get-go.
9:25 PM- The players are now out on the pitch. The national anthems will take place now, followed by some pre-match rituals before the game kicks off! Stay tuned, folks!
9:20 PM- The last side these two sides met was in a FIFA WORLD CUP qualification game back in 2011. India held UAE to a 2-2 draw, back then. However, the Blue Tigers will look to emulate the heroics of 2001 when they defeated the Whites 1-0 in a qualification game. It’ll be a difficult game knowing how UAE will come surging through to guarantee a win, but knowing Stephen Constantine’s ability to surprise, we may see tinkers in the approach today.
9:15 PM- With Thailand’s stunning victory over Bahrain a little while ago, Group A has been turned upside down. UAE have everything to play for now and need a win to get back into the fray. However, if India can repeat last matches’ heroics and pull off a victory, they will qualify for the round of 16 regardless of whatever happens in the final set of matches. All to play for today at the Zayed Sports City Stadium!
9:10 PM- Stephen Constantine has gone with an unchanged side. Why tinker with a side high on momentum? However, UAE have been forced to make a defensive change, with Ismail Mohamed coming in for Fares Juma.
9:05 PM- Here are the starting lineups for the game!
India Subs: Vishal, Amrinder, Salam Ranjan, Narayan, Golui, Germanpreet, Rai, Rowllin, Jackichand, Balwant, Passi, Jeje.
UAE XI: Bilal, Salmin, Ghanim, Abdulla, Saleh, Mohamed, Alshamsi, Alhammadi(C), Zayed, Ahbabi, Mabkhout.
Subs: Humaid, M. Alshamsi, Murad, Saadi, Gharib, K. Alhammadi, Al.Raqi, Alshemeili, Ahmad, Almesmari, Aljneibi, Khalil.
9:00 PM- Hello everyone! It is a wonderful atmosphere here in Abu Dhabi as the Indian National Team is all set to face hosts United Arab Emirates in their second game in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 group stage. The weather is perfect and spectators are coming in to experience the game. This is your host Uttiyo Sarkar, and I hope you enjoy the game with me.
Match Preview: India vs UAE Preview: The Asian dream continues!