United Arab Emirates outplayed India to record a 2-0 win in the AFC Asian Cup at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabhi on Thursday. Khalfan Mubarar, Ali Mabkhout strike as India go down 0-2 to UAE.
United Arab Emirates enjoyed possession initially but, to the surprise of many, India had more shots at goal and dominated proceedings by keeping the opposition defence busy.
Sandesh Jhingan’s free header off a corner by Anirudh Thapa, which was won by Pritam Kotal, went off target. India could have been 1-0 up as early as the seventh minute at the Zayed Sports City Stadium.
Then, unmarked at the far post, Sunil Chhetri’s header after Thapa squared it for the second highest active goal-scorer in international football, was brilliantly saved by UAE custodian Khalid Eisa.
If those misses in the eighth and 23rd minute gave India the belief that they will be able to fight their fancied opponents, in coach Stephen Constantine’s words, toe-to-toe, they also may have made the Blue Tigers a bit restless.
UAE moved top of the table in Group A with four points from two matches while second-placed India still remained in the hunt for a knockout berth with three points from two outings.
India defeated Thailand 4-1 in their opening encounter Sunday but the Thais got their campaign back on a track with a 1-0 win over Bahrain in the evening fixture.