India go down 3-0 to UAE in pre-World Cup qualifier

July 24th, 2011 - 1:30 am ICT by IANS  

Al Ain (Abu Dhabi), July 23 (IANS) Two red cards in four minutes dashed India’s hopes as they went down 3-0 to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the controversial first-leg of the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup here Saturday.

India lost two men by the 23rd minute after defender Debabrata Roy and goalkeeper Subrata Paul picked up red cards and for the rest of the match, the nine men were left defending. Hamdan Al Kamali (20th) and Mohamed Al Shehhi (29th) converted the penalty strikes while Abdulrahman Al Hamadi added a third in the 81st minute.

India’s fate were sealed within 23 minutes during which two needless fouls by Roy and Paul, who picked up his second consecutive red card in a World Cup qualifier, saw the hosts lose the two within a gap of four minutes. Roy was guilty of pulling down Mohammed Al Shhehi in the 19th minute while Paul was red carded by Qatari referee Banjar Al Doasri for an infringement on Al Hammadi in the 23th minute.

Paul’s marching orders infuriated the Indian players and the game was held up for almost six minutes and it resumed only after the intervention of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) officials.

India coach Armando Colaco had to make structural changes in the team by replacing a rusty Steven Dias, much to his displeasure, with Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh, who did a great job in the remaining sixty minutes. Striker Sunil Chettri also fell back in the mid-field behind striker Jeje Lalpeklua.

UAE, however, couldn’t take much advantage of India’s miseries and never looked like a side that drubbed the visitors 5-0 in an international friendly last November.

Indians were unable to create any goal bound moves and went into the break 0-2.

In the second half India played a compact game as they were not left with much options. Colaco replaced an aggressive Mehtab Hussain, who picked up a yellow card, with crafty Jewel Raja Sheikh but fighting against a 11-man team was an uphill task for India.

The expected happened in the 81st minute after Al Hammadi scored the third from defence splitting a back heel by Abdul Rahman.

India now have to win the return-leg in Delhi, slated for July 28, by a margin of four goals or more to move to the second round.

–Indo-Asian News News Service

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