Sunil Chhetri’s India were knocked out of the Asian Games after a 2-0 loss against Saudi Arabia on Thursday, 28 September. In their first Round of 16 appearance in 10 years, India were not able to cope with the Saudi team’s technical superiority in the second-half of the match.
Mohammed Maran – Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammate in Al Nassr – scored 2 knockout blows against India as Saudi Arabia continued their spirited run in the tournament.
India had lined up their time defensively with two blocks of four and the trick paid off in the first half of the match. However, a low defensive block meant that India were not able to execute counter-attacks properly, with Sunil Chhetri and Gurkirat Singh getting crowded out by the Saudi defenders.
India showed good defensive resilience in the first half of the match, forcing the Saudi side to take shots from outside of the box. Saudi nearly scored a goal in the first half as well when a mid-range shot crashed into the crossbar of the Indian team.
The second half of the match was as miserable as it could be for India. Maran scored his first goal from a free header where he remained unmarked in the 51th minute. The second goal was rather impressive from Saudi, who attacked in troves and gave a taste of their technical superiority in the 58th minute of the game.
India captain Sunil Chhetri was not able to be on the scoresheet today and was subbed off in the 78th minute of the game.