The India U-23 Men’s national team will begin their campaign in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games when they take on last edition’s silver medalists United Arab Emirates in a Group G match at the Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium on Monday (September 15). The kick-off is at 13.30 IST.
Despite the UAE ranked much higher than India on 65th in the FIFA World Rankings in comparison to India’s 150th, the Men in Blue will take inspiration from the last two matches played between the two teams, both of which ended in draws.
In the 2013 AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers in Muscat in 2012, UAE had managed to hold India 1-1 in a match which a dominating India should have won convincingly had they been able to convert on the chances created on that day.
Besides, in 2011 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in New Delhi, goals from Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh and Jeje Lalpekhlua had earned India a 2-2 draw at the Ambedkar Stadium.
The Indian team have prepared long for the competition with the first Preparatory Camp in Bangalore kicking-off on July 1, 2014. Thereafter, there have been on Exposure Tours to the Czech Republic and China respectively besides a Friendly Series with Pakistan involving two matches.
So far, the two teams have played eleven Matches between themselves with India having won only two while UAE have won eight.
India’s first victory came in the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the 1981 Merdeka Championship when Harjinder Singh and Xavier Pius scored one each as India won 2-0. The second victory came in 2001 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Bangalore when Jules Alberto made the difference between the two teams. Despite the loss, the UAE qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea.
(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)