UAE v India: 3 Talking Points as bad misses hurt the Blue Tigers
‘The next one will surely find the back of the net,’ said many Indian hearts as another Indian attack failed to bear any fruit. There were no shortages of attack, but unfortunately, the goal remained elusive. After a great performance in the first game against Thailand, India got a reality check as they lost 2-0 against the hosts the United Arab Emirates in the second group game of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
On paper, UAE looked more dangerous than their opponents. Quite rightfully, the Indian football fans wanted their team to somehow secure one point. However, their team started the game in great fashion and played an exciting brand of football.
Chance after chance went begging, some easy, some comparatively hard but still very convertible. The heads, which were held high till then, went down when Khalfan Mubarak’s shot found the back of the net in the 42nd minute. As the game progressed, India’s attacks fizzled out as fans realized it was all but over. Ali Mabkhout’s 88th-minute strike put the last nail in the Indian coffin.
Let us have a look at three talking points from the game:
1.Terrible conversion rate
In the match against Thailand, the Indian attackers missed many chances. The missed chances don’t matter in a game where they score four, but against tougher opponents like UAE, those are bound to prove very costly. In the first half, Stephen Constantine’s men missed at least four clear cut chances, two of which were 1v1 opportunities, while the other two were unchallenged headers with a goal gaping. In the second half too, Udanta Singh got to a scoring position but his shot hit the crossbar. On any other day when luck was on India’s side, they could have easily run away with the game, but no goals from as many as nine attempts might need some explanation.
2. You take the ball, I’ll chase it
The Indian midfielders and defenders might have thought the ball was venomous for they were not willing to keep it for long. That resulted in a terrible passing accuracy of 55% percent, and consequently a more horrendous ball possession of 34%. After Udanta Singh’s miss in the early stages of the second half, the poor passing and distribution were more prominent as UAE took advantage of it by holding up play and destroying the quick tempo of the game. Quite expectedly, the blue tigers never got another clear cut chance.
3.Long balls from the back
In modern football, the goalkeepers think they are as good as the outfield players and often showcase their subtle skills. In international football, playing out from the back has become a trend. However, things are different from India. The Indian goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu gave long balls aiming at the Indian strikers. This was often followed by the defenders as well. Surprisingly, this worked for India as quite often the ball proved to be of great quality, like the one by Sandhu in the first-half that found Chhetri 1v1 against the UAE goalkeeper, but the Indian captain’s shot was just inches wide.
Who does India face next?
With 3 points from 2 games, India is currently sitting at the second position in group A, just above Thailand on goal difference. They will face Bahrain, the side who have got just one point from their two games, on the 14th of January at the historic Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah.