Published on : 22 September 2023, 3:14 am
Asian Games 2023: The Indian football team, weakened by hasty team-building after ISL clubs refused to release key players, got a reprieve from skipper Sunil Chhetri’s penalty goal on Thursday. The goal led Igor Stimac’s team to defeat Bangladesh 1-0 and maintain their challenge in Group A of the 19th Asian Games men’s football.
The budding Indian team, who lost the first match against the hosts China by a margin of 1-5, played a tough game on Thursday. With the exception of captain Chhetri and defender Sandesh Jhingan, the rest of the players had little international experience. Chhetri scored a penalty kick in the 85th minute to give the Indian team their first win in Group A. Now the Indian team will play against the Myanmar team on Sunday in the final league match.
Bangladesh captain Rahmat Mian made a mistake as the match, played in rainy weather, was heading for a goalless draw. He brought down India’s Bryce Miranda in the goal area. The referee signals a penalty kick. This time, captain Chhetri put all his experience to the test and beat the opponent’s goalkeeper, eventually this goal was decisive in the match. Bangladesh goalkeeper Mitul Marma made a desperate effort to block the ball; But he was helpless against the speed of the shot. With this exception, goalkeeper Marma proved to be the backbone of Indian attacks.
Current position in Group A
In another Group A match on Thursday evening, China thrashed Myanmar 4-0 to register their second straight win. China leads the group with six points. India and Myanmar have three points each after two matches and India is second on goal difference while Myanmar is third. Bangladesh lost both the matches. The top two teams from each of the six groups in the league will qualify for the semi-quarterfinals. Apart from this, India will have a chance as the four best third-placed teams in the group stage will qualify for the knockout stage.