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India go down fighting to Iran
December 07, 2006 01:53 IST
India are virtually out of the Asian Games football event after being beaten by Iran 0-2 in their last Group-D league match at the Al Sadd football stadium in Doha on Wednesday night.
The Indians, who desperately needed a victory to stay in contention, played valiantly and held the strong Iranians at bay till the 78th minute before two late goals dashed their hopes of making progress in the tournament barring a miracle.
Jalal Akbari Kelishadi fired in the first goal in the 78th minute before Arash Borhani sealed the fate of the Indians in injury time with another goal.
It was a creditable performance by the Indians considering the fact that they went into the match without the services of their mercurial captain Baichung Bhutia, who had to sit out because of two yellow card bookings.
The Indians, who played with more purpose, managed to initiate a number of moves into the Iranian defence but lacked the finishing touch to pose problems.
The Indians could have surged ahead in the very first minute but Bungo Singh missed a scoring opportunity with none of the defenders in position.
In the second half, forward Manjit Singh was guilty of muffing a simple chance much to the dismay of his teammates.
Manjit had only the goalkeeper to beat, but unbelievably shot wide from close.
The Iranians stepped up the tempo of the game in the last quarter and the ploy paid immediate dividends as they scored two goals in that period.
India completed their Ggroup D league engagements with four points while Iran, who topped the group with nine points, qualified for the quarter-finals.
The champion teams of the six groups qualify for the quarter-finals while the two best second placed teams fill up the two other spots in the quarter-final line-up and India will be hoping they are one of the two lucky ones.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage