The Indian men’s soccer team was knocked out of the Asian Games 2023 after a 2-0 loss to Saudi Arabia of their spherical of 16 match at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.
Mohammed Khalil Marran (51’, 57’) scored both goals for Saudi Arabia.
In the senior men’s football FIFA rankings, India are world No. 102 whereas Saudi Arabia are 57th. Men’s football tournaments at Asian Games, nonetheless, are under-23 affairs with each staff being allowed a maximum of three players over the age limit.
En route to the knockouts, Sunil Chhetri and Co. lost to China 5-1 in the opener earlier than beating Bangladesh 1-0 and holding Myanmar to a 1-1 draw. India completed second in Pool A behind China to seal a pre-quarterfinal spot.
Saudi Arabia finished second in Pool B behind Iran with two wins and a draw.
Playing in its traditional blue jersey, the Indian men’s football team started with a 4-4-2 formation and defended deep. Saudi Arabia, in the meantime, played lengthy balls into the Indian half in order to put strain on the Indian backline. The Indian defence, led by veteran Sandesh Jinghan, held agency to maintain the Saudi forwards at bay.
While Saudi Arabia loved the lion’s share of possession, India resorted to counter assaults and carved out two decent probabilities around the 15-minute mark.
Sunil Chhetri received the ball in the opponent’s half but his shot went straight to the Saudi goalkeeper. Minutes later, the Indian captain found Sandesh Jhingan from a free-kick however the Indian defender’s header was cleared from the goal line.
After the 2 let offs, Saudi Arabia upped the ante. The Green Falcons virtually scored the opening goal when Musab Al-Juwayr’s right footed shot beat the Indian custodian Dheeraj but clattered on the woodwork.
Saudi Arabia attacked the Indian half in waves and it took some last-ditch defending by the Indian backline to keep the scoreline level.
Saudi Arabia came close to scoring within the dying minutes of the primary half when Zakaria Hawsawi broke into the Indian half and shot at aim just for Sandesh Jinghan to come up with a decisive block. The groups went into the break goalless.
The second half noticed Saudi Arabia kick up a couple of gears and India did not cope up. After five minutes of constant pressure, Saudi Arabia finally managed to take the lead by way of Mohammed Khalil Marran, who headed a cross past the Indian custodian Dheeraj Singh.
Minutes later, Mohammed Khalil Marran was within the thick of the motion yet once more and doubled Saudi teams lead. The ahead acquired a via ball inside the Indian box earlier than sidestepping the Indian keeper to fit it into the again of the online.
After the second goal, the Saudi Arabian staff comfortably controlled the sport and saw off the win to progress to the final eight.
The Indian men’s team’s exit also brings India’s soccer marketing campaign at Hangzhou 2023 to an finish. The women’s group didn’t progress beyond the group stage.
The India football staff has twice won the gold medal (1951 and 1962) on the Asian Games. The final time the Indian group reached the spherical of 16 was in 2010, the place they misplaced 5-0 to Japan.