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India go down to Turkmenistan in FIFA World Cup qualifier

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Turkmenistan v India
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Turkmenistan v India

Photo courtesy: AIFF Media

India went down 1-2 to Turkmenistan in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 match in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Thursday (October 8).

Amanov who paved the way for Abylov to open the scoring in the 9th minute settled the issue with a rasper in the 66th minute, a strike which was labeled as “fantastic” by Indian National Coach Stephen Constantine.

In between, however, Jeje Lalpekhlua had brought India back in the match in the 29th minute.

The rival goalkeeper Mamed had rushed out that split second faster to intercept a cross which was intended for Jeje, but fumbled in the process. And as the ball popped out of his hand, Jeje with his back to the rival goal and with a couple of defenders running to close him down, lobbed it in with his left foot from outside the box. It was all impulsive, a typical strike by a poacher.

That apart, there wasn’t any noteworthy strike at the rival goal; Mamed having no complaints of watching it like a spectator from under the Turkmenistan bar.

They Indian defence looked suspect and porous every time the rivals played the long ball. They were slow to react, waited for the ball to get pass and by then, the rivals were sneaking in consistently.

Furthermore, Turkmenistan wrecked havoc playing it between the back four who struggled to stay together and had it not been for India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s reflexes, the margin could have been more.

Off the ball, the Indians looked out of ideas. They were unable to close down most of the times allowing Turkmenistan to win almost all the second balls all throughout. The speed of the Turkmenistan players was simply too much to handle.

The rivals managed to outnumber the Indians in all areas on the field and had people roaming around free to regulate for the entire 90 minutes. The Indians failed to press.

“Turkmenistan players were motivated and ran much harder. We had no answer to them in the second half,” Constantine certified. “In the second half, it was evident that we were struggling on the physical aspects,” he added.

The Indians were not up to it and the lack of fitness was so glaring.

Narayan Das had to be rushed to the Hospital during half time as he was having breathing problems. Though he is safe and out of danger, he will be released only tomorrow (October 9) morning.

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)