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AFC Asian Cup 2019 Group A FULL-TIME: India 0-1 Bahrain

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar


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                           90+1' Rashid



FULL-TIME ANALYSIS: The Blue Tigers were taken to their absolute limit by Bahrain and despite keeping them out heroically, Al-Ahmar managed to pip the game in the dying stages. A tired challenge from captain Pronoy Halder awarded them a penalty, which Jamal Rashid duly scored. Gurpreet gave a superb showing with some brilliant saves all through, while Jhingan was a leader in defence with numerous clearances and challenges. A moment of madness cost the Blue Tigers a chance to make it to the knockout rounds after playing so well throughout the tournament. Well, there's nothing to be ashamed off for the boys.

They played some of the best football India has played in international level in the 21st century against Thailand and were brave against UAE as well. Bahrain's physicality and hard-hitting mentality battered the Indian players and tiredness caused the loss in the end. India might be going home in the group stages, but considering many teams from the other groups are yet to pick up a single point, it shows how much the Blue Tigers have developed. The future is truly bright and the next time they play in this tournament, they'll definitely go past this hurdle. This is Uttiyo Sarkar, signing off for Khel Now. Good night, Ladies and Gentlemen. Be proud off this team! 

11:26 PM- Well, folks, it's full-time at Al-Ain between UAE and Thailand as well. This means India have been knocked out of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. UAE are the group winners with five points, with Thailand runners-up and Bahrain going through because of their third place superiority. 

90+4' One of Bahrain's substitutes get booked for playing in a second ball into the box. The Blue Tigers attempt to send the ball ahead, but it's too late. Bahrain win and go through! Now the players can only pray that UAE gets a goal in the dying minutes. 

90+3 India seems to be absolutely dog tired right now to even go forward. Bahrain are rejuvenated from the goal and are just maintaining possession to see off the game. 

90+1' BAHRAIN SCORES! 1-0! Jamal Rashid shows utmost confidence in taking it and sends Gurpreet the wrong way by slotting it through the middle. Heartbreak for the Blue Tigers!

90' PENALTY FOR BAHRAIN! Shambolic defending from India! Another cross isn't cleared out and finds Marhoon. He passes it into the middle, but Salam Ranjan can't clear it out. Pronoy ends up making a reckless foul to give Bahrain a spot-kick in the dying minutes!

88' GURPREET AGAIN! A fantastic chipped ball goes over the Indian defence to Marhoon, but Gurpreet meets the ball with his fist to strongly parry it away. 

87' Bahrain get a chance to counter-attack after Pritam overcommits forward, allowing them to move throught that wing. The ball is eventually played to the middle and a shot is attempted from outside the box, but is comfortably held onto by Gurpreet. 

85' STUNNING SAVE! A corner is taken really well by Bahrain and met by the towering Youssuf, whose powerful header is phenomenally palmed away by Gurpreet. Bahrain try to score off the rebound, but Kotal does brilliantly to block that. Amazing defending!

84' A slight counter-attacking chance arose for India when Jeje held up the ball well and passed it to Thapa, who tried relaying it to the right but only found the Bahrain player. 

82' India are just not being able to hold onto possession right now. Everything is being cleared off to the side whenever the players get a hold off the ball. Stephen Constantine is visibly frustrated at this and will be worried to see Pronoy Halder go down with cramps. 

79' Final substitution from India. Narzary goes off for Anirudh Thapa. The Chennaiyin midfielder will definitely help get some control for India and add pace to the Blue Tigers attack. 

78' One more save from Gurpreet. Youssuf gets the ball outside the box and uses his physique to make room, before taking a frail shot at Sandhu who holds onto it superbly. 

77' That was a decisive moment for India, as it looked like Bahrain would score! Just about fifteen more minutes remaining and Bahrain make their final change to force a winner. Ahmed Juma goes off for Samid Alhusaini. 

74' BRILLIANT BLOCK! Udanta it is! Rashid tries to kick it into the net, but Udanta does really well to block it away for a corner. 

73' INDIRECT FREE-KICK INSIDE THE BOX FOR BAHRAIN! What a horror-show for Subhasish. He involuntarily passes it to Gurpreet, who picks the ball up and an indirect free kick is to be taken just a few yards away from goal. 

72' Another chance for Al-Ahmar! A beautiful through ball is stitched to free up Youssuf, who is forced to take a shot from a weird angle thanks to Jhingan's work and sees his attempt go wide. 

71'  OFF THE POST! Bahrain go agonizingly close to scoring after some defensive lapses from India. The ball was flinging everywhere in the box after a cross was played in, and it fell to Marhoon whose header struck the post. 

69' The UAE-Thailand game is around three minutes behind this one. However, as things stand, UAE and India go through as the top two teams from the group. A nervy twenty minutes away. 

66' Courageous tackle from Udanta! He recovers in time to make a brilliant challenge on the towering Youssuf, bringing him down with a clean tackle and sending the ball away for a corner. However, the substitute looks hurt as he went down hard on his ankle. 

65' OVER! The Blue Tigers attempt a unique free-kick when Udanta and Subhasish tee up Chhetri to take a shot, but his free-kick goes blazing ove.r 

64' A brilliant counter-attack is sparked by India thanks to the coordination between Chhetri and Udanta. The Flash of India speeds away through on goal, before Hamed Alshamsan brings him down outside the box and gets booked for it!

63' GURPREET SAVES! Rashid wins a free-kick from a promising position and decides to take it himself. He attempts to curl it to Gurpreet's right, but the Indian keeper dives smartly to hold onto the shot. 

61' OOF! What a try from Alaswad! He tries another swipe from long range, but his powerful strike wheezes just past the goal to hit the posts behind the goal. Meanwhile, Bahrain's prolific striker Abdulla Youssuf comes on for Al Romaihi. 

60' CLOSE! Bahrain almost get the lead! A brilliant long-all is played through the right to Marhoon, who tries to lay it off in the middle for the free Al Romaihi, but Jhingan does brilliantly to keep him at bay. 

58' Al-Ahmar tries to move through the right wing and many bodies flung that side. Marhoon looks to make immediate impact as he comes in and tries a clever through-ball, before Pronoy makes a silly foul outside the box. 

55' Bahrain make their first change. Their prolific midfielder, Ali Madan goes off to replace Mohamed Marhoon. Madan seems to be especially perplexed at being taken off and does not look happy. 

53' There might not be many goals in this game, but the fans inside the Sharjah Stadium are having their share of fun! A Mexican wave goes off between the fans before the Blue Pilgrims make their voice heard with loud chants of "India! India!" Hopefully, this will wake up the attacking players. 

51' India finally get some space and possession in midfield. A ball is played to Rowllin in the middle and he plays it wide to Udanta. The right-winger takes a cross, which goes over everyone to the outside. Wasted!

49' Nervy moments early on for India. Bad communication in defence allows Saeed to roam in from the left, but his cross is sent out for a corner. 

46' The Second half kicks-off! The Blue Tigers start attacking from the right to left now, but give away possession quite early on. Meanwhile, India have made another substitution. Jeje Lalpekhlua has come on for Ashique Kuruniyan. 

HALF-TIME ANALYSIS: It's been an absolutely gruelling first half so far for the Blue Tigers. Problems arose right from the get-go when Anas had to substituted inside the first five minutes. However, India has weathered the storm superbly so far, with Sandesh Jhingan and captain Pronoy Halder being especially brilliant. The Indian captain made an all-important block in the end to keep the game 0-0 and has worked really hard against the bullying midfielders of Bahrain. Al-Ahmar are executing their physical, hard-hitting style very well, but India has been unmoved so far. If things stay like this in full-time in both this game and the UAE-Thailand one, the Blue Tigers still go through as runners-up of the group. We'll be back with updates from the second-half soon. Stay tuned, folks!

45+2' CRUCIAL BLOCK! A dangerous corner is played in through the left and goes above everyone to find a free Ali Juma, whose header looked goal-bound, but Pronoy blocks it amazingly to keep the score intact heading into half-time! What an important clearance!

45' Rowllin loses possession yet again in midfield, allowing Bahrain to attack through the left. However, a strayed pass is collected by Gurpreet. Meanwhile, two minutes of added time is announced. 

42' THAILAND EQUALISES! It's a scrappy goal, but they've managed to put one in before the half-time break. Not the thing Indian fans want to hear right now!

41' Bahrain again attempt to create a chance with a long-ball. But Salam Ranjan does well to keep his man in check and despite allowing him to get into the box, he recovers well to clear the ball away for a corner. 

39' It's turning out to be quite the heated battle out there in the middle. Both the teams are pumped to put in strong challenges and are giving everything to win the ball. Can't say it wasn't expected!

36' Another cranky tackle suffered by the India captain! Pronoy does well to bring down a lofted ball and tries going past Juma, who cynically brings him down to stop him from going forward. 

33' BRILLIANT FROM JHINGAN! Bahrain create a beautiful move and after a triangle of passes, Ahmed Juma goes free on the left. He tries to find a player in the middle, but Jhingan superbly clears it away before he can. 

32' The Blue Tigers have restricted Bahrain to take many shots from long range. The latest one is attempted by Jamal Rashid, who tries a powerful left-footer from 30 yards out, but sees his shot sky high away. 

30' Bahrain are looking to rattle the Indian players here with a flurry of strong challenges. Pronoy Halder is the latest to suffer a thumping challenge, but the referee doesn't help him despite much protests. 

28' Frustrating moments for Indian fans! With some brilliant work from Ashique Kuruniyan and Pronoy Halder, a ball is played swiftly to Narzary on the left. He finds Chhetri with a low-cross, but instead of taking a shot, he tries dummying the defender who clears it away! Unlucky!

25' The Blue Tigers receive a free-kick from far out after Subhasish Bose is flattened by a bad tackle from Ali Madan. Rowllin takes it, but his ambitious cross finds its way to Sayed Alawi. 

22' OOF! First big chance for India! A ball forward into the Bahrain defence is deflected away to Narzary on the left. Instead of crossing, he tries a powerful shot which deflects out for a corner. 

20' Gurpreet's long-ball strikes again! He takes another brilliant free-kick from outside his area and his longball goes through Bahrain defence to Chhetri, but his Bengaluru teammate, unfortunately, can't get to it either. 

19' Jhingan goes down now! After putting in a brilliant challenge, a frailing arm caught his face and might've poked his eyes as well. However, he seems to be okay. 

17' As things stand at the moment, India will qualify as runners up to the group. However, much can change over the course of the next hour. 

15' Another chance for Bahrain! They keep on pressing on aerial balls into the box and after getting some space on the right, a cross is played in to Sayed Saeed who gets behind Kotal, but his header sails over the net. 

13' India create their first real chance! The Blue Tigers finally get some possession in the final third and after Halicharan Narzary's cross overlaps to Udanta, he lays it to Pritam Kotal. The right-back sends in a curling cross to Ashique, who can't really divert his header onto goal. 

10' Bahrain have smelt blood after the early substitution for India and are pressing relentlessly for the first goal. They almost go through on the left after a mistake from Rowllin Borges, but Salam recovers well to block off a cross. 

8' UAE HAVE SCORED! Ali Mabkhout has scored for the hosts at Al-Ain to give them the lead. If it stays that way, India are going through to the round of 16 regardless of the result against Bahrain. 

7' One more! Bahrain are looking to trouble the Indian goalkeeper today and another ambitious shot is attempted from more than 30 yards out. Gurpreet holds onto it shakily. 

6' GURPREET SAVES! Bahrain win back the ball from Pronoy Halder with a thunderous tackle, which allows Komail Alaswad to take a swipe at goal. However, his powerful shot is parried away by Gurpreet and the follow up goes wide. 

4' Salam Ranjan Singh is set to make his AFC Asian Cup debut for India. What an occasion it is to do so for the youngster! He comes on for Anas. 

2' BIG BLOW FOR INDIA! Anas Edathodika has seemingly picked up an injury in the early minutes and the defender has indicated for a substitution. Not a good start!

1' AND WE KICKOFF! Bahrain, in white, start the game attacking from the right to the left. They've started cautiously, but are intent on getting an early lead. 

9:25 PM- Both sides are coming out onto the Sharjah Stadium field now. They will line up for the respective national anthems, followed with pre-match rituals before the game can begin. Not to forget folks, the UAE vs Thailand game is simultaneously taking place as well with this match. We'll keep on updating what's happening in that match as well! 

9:20 PM- The Blue Tigers have conceded all their goals due to tricky long balls. They haven't been able to counter the aerial threat of the other teams so far and Bahrain will definitely use their physical prowess to fling long balls forward. However, the Blue Tigers can also hurt Al-Ahmar with similar long-balls. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's long-balls have been especially dangerous and if he continues that, Bahrain's defence could be breached by Chhetri and co. 

9:15 PM- India are winless against Al-Ahmar in international competitions. In their short history together, both the teams have only met each other five times, with Bahrain winning four of them. The Blue Tigers need to be wary of their physical threat and put on a rigorous performance to worsen that record today. 

9:10 PM- Stephen Constantine has made only one change to the team which went down to UAE on Thursday. Rowllin Borges comes in for Anirudh Thapa to inert some more energy and physical strength in midfield. Pronay Halder is given the captain's armband in a special day for the ATK man. Like their opponent, Bahrain have also made one change with Jamal Rashid coming on for Mohamed Marhoon. 

9:05 PM- Here are the starting lineups for the game. 


Also Read- We want to do well and get the three points- Stephen Constantine

9:00 PM- Hello everyone! It is a wonderful atmosphere here in Sharjah as the Indian National Team is all set to face Bahrain in their final game of AFC Asian Cup. 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 Bahrain preview: Will the dream continue?

Published: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:32 PM IST


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