India crashed out of the AFC Asian Cup after tasting 0-1 defeat by the hands of Bahrain in the final Group A match in Shahjah on Monday. Bahrain’s Jamal Rashed converted a penalty in the 91st minute after India captain Pronay Halder committed a careless tackle inside the box. The game was a must win game for Bahrain as the desperation to score a goal was quite evident from their side. The Indian side left no stone unturned in defending the attack every single time it was in the stoppage time when Jamal scored a goal, giving Bahrain much-needed win in the end.
India finished outside the top two after the group’s other game between UAE and Thailand ended in a 1-1 draw.
Earlier in the tournament, India defeated Thailand 4-1 and lost a game to UAE by 0-2 but it was quite applauding for the Indian side to hold on Bahrain for 90 minutes.
This was India’s fourth appearance in the continental showpiece, beginning with the 1964 edition, in which only four teams participated.
India and Bahrain has faced each other on seven different occasions where Indian side could manage to clinch just one match in the year 1979 where stike Shabir Ali scored two goals for the team. On the other hand, Bahrain has won five times out of seven.
In their next Asian Cup in 1984, India were knocked out in the first round and they suffered a similar fate in 2011, when they lost heavily to Australia, South Korea and Bahrain.
However, the team under coach Stephen Constantine started the tournament with a demolition of Thailand, sounding a warning that it was not here to make up the numbers.
They were a shade unlucky against UAE and went down fighting, but looked determined against Bahrain.
The Blue Tigers started off shakily after losing defender Anas Edathodika to injury as early as the second minute, but Sandesh Jhingan and his colleagues managed to stave off the Bahrain strikers until the blunder inside the box.