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India's effort falls short as Australia secures 2-0 victory in AFC Asian Cup Clash

Despite a strong first half, India succumbs to a 2-0 defeat against Australia in the AFC Asian Cup, with goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's unfortunate mistake proving costly.

Indias effort falls short as Australia secures 2-0 victory in AFC Asian Cup Clash

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 13 Jan 2024 4:44 PM GMT

A game of two halves. That was exactly the case for India's first game in the group stage of the AFC Asian Cup against Australia. India started the game strongly with a couple of attacks and solid defending. It's safe to say that the Blue Tigers gave the Socceroos a run for their money for the first 45 minutes.

The fans, who went into the game without many expectations, were sold dreams of holding the mighty yellow army to a draw. Sandesh Jhingan stood like a wall in front of the defense line, even taking hits and putting his body on the line to keep the scoreline intact. Although Bheke starting ahead of Akash Mishra wasn't welcomed, Bheke performed in a way that justified his start. Tangiri was the same.

However, the second half took a turn in the 49th minute when India conceded a goal due to an unfortunate mistake by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Sandhu, in his third Asian Cup campaign, palmed away the ball lightly, only for Jackson Irvine to slam it home with his left. With his hands stretched and a relieved smile on his face, there was a hint of vindication in Irvine’s celebrations; the Aussies, perhaps, didn’t expect the 102-ranked side to hold on for so long.

For India, on the other hand, it was a soft goal conceded because Indian defenders fought gallantly and creditably to keep the door shut on the Australian attackers till then.

Australia further solidified their lead in the 72nd minute when substitute Jordan Bos scored with his first touch of the game, leaving the Indian defense struggling.

Despite India's spirited efforts, the match concluded with a 2-0 victory for Australia. India will face Uzbekistan next on January 18th.

Playing against Australia, ranked 25 in the FIFA ranking, is always a tough battle. At the same time, India knew it was also their moment of glory, a stepping stone towards achieving the dream of crossing swords with the best in the world.

As the two captains, Sunil Chhetri and Mathew Ryan shook hands with Japanese referee Ms. Yamashita Yoshimi, Indian coach Igor Stimac could be seen keeping an eagle-eyed watch on his wards. On the pitch, Lallianzuala Chhangte offered a quick prayer while going down on his knees.

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