Asian Cup: Goalless India slump to second straight defeat as Uzbekistan win 3-0
It was India’s second consecutive loss after their 0-2 defeat against Australia on January 13.
India’s players react at the end of the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group B football match against Uzbekistan at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on January 18, 2024. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA fell to a second straight defeat at the Asian Cup on Thursday, losing 3-0 to Uzbekistan, all the goals coming in a torrid first half for Igor Stimac’s men.
The result put Uzbekistan in pole position to qualify along with Australia from Group B with one round of matches to go.
The Uzbeks were ahead within five minutes in Doha, through an Abbosbek Fayzullaev header, the 20-year-old CSKA Moscow winger nodding in Otabek Shukurov’s looping header.
Chaotic Indian defending led to the second 14 minutes later, a sliding Sandesh Jhingan chipping the ball against his own bar for Igor Sergeev to score on the rebound.
Ranked 102nd in the world to Uzbekistan’s 68, India had their moments but were mostly limited to speculative crosses in front of more than 38,000 people at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
Their hopes of a comeback were extinguished during first-half stoppage time, Sherzod Nasrullaev exploiting some statuesque defending to notch a third.
Uzbekistan took their foot off the gas from the restart, allowing India repeated attempts to supply Sunil Chhetri, but the veteran striker toiled to no avail and was subbed off with 20 minutes remaining.
Elsewhere in Group B, Australia beat Syria 1-0 to guarantee their place in the next round thanks to Jackson Irvine’s second goal of the tournament.
In the final round of matches, Syria face India on Tuesday, with Australia playing Uzbekistan at the same time.
India, who were beaten 2-0 by Australia, sit bottom of the group with zero points and no goals.