Bhubaneswar, June 15 The Indian senior males’s soccer group performed out a goalless draw towards Lebanon within the last group match of the Intercontinental Cup on the Kalinga Stadium, right here on Thursday.
In an evenly-matched contest for many elements, either side had alternatives to win the sport, however neither might discover the sting on one other humid night within the Odisha capital.
Lebanon have been already confirmed to be India’s opponents in Sunday’s last earlier than the sport kicked off as Vanuatu beat Mongolia 1-0 earlier within the day.
Head coach Igor Stimac as soon as once more made a flurry of adjustments to the beginning eleven from the earlier recreation, most notably resting Sunil Chhetri, who netted the match-winner towards Vanuatu, to provide Ashique Kuruniyan his first look of the event. With the identical back-line reinstated from the opening match towards Mongolia, goalscorers Sahal Abdul Samad and Lallianzuala Chhangte additionally returned to the line-up.
Regardless of the goalless draw, Stimac stated he was pleased with the way in which issues went.
“Very pleased with the boys’ efficiency. We knew we’d be examined a few occasions, and that’s precisely what occurred. Once you play towards better-quality opponents, that may occur. One other clear sheet, sufficient probabilities to win huge, and in the long run, I’m simply sorry for the boys, it didn’t occur. Subsequent time, we are going to certainly win in three days’ time,” Stimac stated after the sport.
Just like the Mongolia recreation, India meant to get off to a lightning begin and went near opening the scoring in solely the third minute. After a fast throw-in on the proper flank, Chhangte drilled a low ball into the penalty space to pick Anirudh Thapa, who dragged his try broad of the far publish.
The tempo of the sport was largely managed by the Blue Tigers, however Lebanon appeared threatening on the counter. Within the tenth minute, skipper Hassan Maatouk twisted and turned close to the sting of the field earlier than lashing a robust strike over the bar.
On one other such break ahead, Karim Darwich had a transparent sight of objective however Jhingan bravely put his physique on the road simply as he pulled the set off. Jhingan was adjudged the Hero of the Match.
“As a centre-back, a clear sheet means quite a bit to you. As a group, should you can hold a clear sheet, it builds the momentum for the aspect. Credit score to the group and training workers, we work laborious, create probabilities, and the sky’s the restrict for us,” stated Jhingan.
India’s first shot on course got here from a transfer originating on the left wing as Udanta Singh delivered an early low cross for Ashique Kuruniyan, who had the angle towards him and hit his effort straight at goalkeeper Ali Sabeh.
On the opposite finish, Amrinder needed to make a way more tough save to maintain out Soony Saad’s header after a medical Hussein Zein cross from the precise. Minutes later, Chhangte’s free-kick try from 30 yards out sailed simply over the bar.
Lebanon got here out stronger after the break and commenced seeing extra of the ball, pegging again the Indian backline. Zein Farran was their most important menace down the precise wing along with his quick tempo and powerful dribbling abilities. Within the 53rd minute, he confirmed fast ft to skip previous Mishra and ship a stinging shot on objective however Anwar was available to dam it.
India took time to settle within the second half, however finally did get going. Sahal was put by means of on objective with a neatly threaded ball by Udanta however the Kerala Blasters man was caught offside by a small margin.
Within the very subsequent minute, Chhangte’s cross from the by-line fell simply behind Udanta, who needed to improvise and go for an overhead try, which looped over the bar.
It was India who completed the sport on a stronger be aware. The ten-thousand-strong crowd roared with pleasure as Chhetri got here on for the ultimate 10 minutes of the sport. His strike companion and fellow substitute Rahim Ali would have the following huge likelihood of the sport as he was picked out unmarked by Thapa however couldn’t make up his thoughts as as to whether to shoot or arrange a teammate, and the chance went begging.
Minutes earlier than full-time, a Thapa nook was headed broad by Chhetri.
(This text is from a syndicated feed and has not been edited by The SportsGrail)
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