|Al Ain: India went down against UAE 3-0 in the World Cup football second round qualifying match on Saturday. Two red cards in a span of four minutes dashed India’s hopes in the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Defender Debabrata Roy and goalkeeper Subrata Paul were sent out as they were red carded by the Qatari referee Banjar Al Doasri in the 21st and 24th minutes leaving India to play with only nine players for more than an hour in the match at Sheikh Khlaifa Bin Zayed Stadium.
It goes to India’s credit that they were successful in defending with nine men against UAE who are way ahead in rankings. Two of the three goals of UAE came through spot kicks which were awarded to them. Hamdan Al Kamali (20th) and Mohamed Al Shehhi (29th) converted the spot kicks which resulted from the infringements by Roy and Paul. Abdulrahman Al Hamadi scored a field goal in the 81st minute.
Refereeing was a bit harsh towards Indians as the second red card was needless. It was the UAE forward who was advancing and Subrata Paul already had a firm grip on the ball. But the Qatar referee found Paul guilty and red carded him for an infringement on Al Hammadi.
The match was held up for almost six minutes as Paul’s marching order infuriated the Indian players and it was resumed only after the intervention of the Asian Football Confederation ( AFC) officials. It also forced India Coach Armando Colaco to make some structural changes by replacing experienced Steven Dias with Karanjit Singh. Even though the move invited displeasure, the Salgoakar goal keeper did a great job in the remaining sixty minutes delivering some outstanding saves. Striker Sunil Chettri also fell back in the mid-field behind striker Jeje Lalpeklua.
However it has to be said that UAE failed to capitalize on India’s miseries. They were no near to a team which drowned India 5-0 in their previous meeting in November last year. Indians were unable to create any goal bound moves and went into the break 0-2.
India played a compact game as they were left with very few options in the second half.