Indian Football: 5 Talking points from the AFC U23 qualifier between India and UAE
ndian U-23 football team suffered a narrow 0-1 loss in their second Asian Cup qualifiers match against hoast UAE
Indian U-23 football team suffered a narrow 0-1 loss in their second Asian Cup qualifiers match against hoast UAE. Though the Blue Colts showed great grit and determination, a controversial penalty changed things at the dying minutes. However, Igor Stimac's men are still in contention for the main stage. As all the teams now have the same points making their last encounter decisive to qualify for the main competition scheduled next year. The Bridge comes up with the 5 talking points from this encounter.
Resilient defensive show
India started the match with a defensive proficiency as Deepak Tangri and Gahlot seemed to carry the same momentum that they had against Oman. Both the center backs maintained a good shape across the box allowing no lapse in concentration. They rarely kept any places unguarded leaving almost no chances for the UAE attackers to strike. Dheeraj also provided the necessary confidence under the post as he went on to make a crucial save in the second quarter of the game declining Rashid from scoring a sure goal.
UAE lacked in attacking third
Ranked 71 in the FIFA world ranking the UAE side was expected to be more dominant over the Indian colts. But things turned different as the Emirates side suffered vehemently in their attacking third. As they failed to score from open play and most of their offensive move succumbed to the Indian defense. Though the flanks operated well for the managed side, they lacked significantly in their target man and failed to create potential moves in the attacking third.
Apt midfield play from India
India started the second half with a better hold in the midfield. Apuia made a good game out of the loose balls. On the other hand, Suresh continued to snatch balls leaving few chances for UAE to work on. The combination play between the two Manipuri boys clicked well for India and they were able to create some through balls for Rahim Ali and Vikram to strike in. But the UAE shot-stopper stood tall to deny any mishap.
Ali Saleh vs Dheeraj- A dual to watch
If not the penalty it would have been a day for Indian shot-stopper Dheeraj Singh Moiranghtem. It is this 22-year-old lad's heroics that kept Indian in the match till the last quarter. UAE's Ali Saleh tried to score from at least six chances but turned unluck and short to Dheeraj's brilliance. The FC Goa keeper surely won hearts with his commendable saves under the post. From the very first minute of the game, a dual was evident between Ali Saleh and Dheeraj and at the end, it came fruitful for the latter as he restricted Saleh from scoring a goal.
Abdullah Idris The Game winner for UAE
A shaky move from Sumit Rathi made sure Ali Salah beat the defender and make a cross that later created chaos in the box leading to a controversial penalty. This was enough to change things on behalf of UAE. As Abdullah Idrees rose to the occasion and didn't upset to bag in a crucial goal from the spot-kick. The Al Jazira defender played fairly all through the match and made sure nothing passes through him in the UAE defense.