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Merdeka Cup 2023: India suffer 2-4 defeat to Malaysia, bow out of tournament

India suffered a 2-4 defeat to Malaysia within the Merdeka Cup. Picture: X / @IndianFootball

Kuala Lumpur: India’s Merdeka Match marketing campaign after a spot of twenty-two years led to sheer disappointment once they went right down to hosts Malaysia 2-4 within the semi-final in entrance of a deafening house crowd within the Bukit Jalil Nationwide Stadium on Friday (13 October).

Malaysia will now tackle Tajikistan within the ultimate to be performed on 17 October.

In a match marred by just a few controversial refereeing choices, together with the cancellation of a ‘goal’ scored by India, the Blue Tigers trailed 1-3 on the half time, however made a feisty comeback after resumption to cut back the margin by way of their skipper Sunil Chhetri.

Nevertheless, their tempo and enthusiasm to get again into the match obtained a jolt when the Thailand referee, Mongkolchai Pechhri, refused to just accept {that a} Lallianzuala Chhangte shot had crossed the road within the 56th minute.

Whereas the tv replay clearly displayed that the ball went just a few inches effectively over the goalline, the referee and the assistant referee most popular to rule in any other case, leaving the Indians completely shocked. Chhetri, the Indian captain, pleaded with the referee with folded arms, however with no VAR out there, the referee caught to his weapons.

Because the Indians have been nonetheless smarting underneath the rejection of what they felt was a real aim scored, the Malaysians discovered their fourth aim within the 61st minute by way of La’vere Corbin-Ong to take the sport past the Blue Tigers’ attain.

Regardless of the defeat, the 2 targets scored by India could possibly be real causes to cheer up the Indian followers. Mahesh Singh Naorem’s aim was a magnificence; a mixed transfer between Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sahal Abdul Samad and Mahesh resulted within the latter’s correct volley for which the Malaysian goalkeeper had no reply. Chhangte was within the thick of issues within the second aim too as his measured go made Chhetri’s job straightforward; all he needed to do was faucet the ball in.

But, Chhangte would return house an sad man; he would at all times rue over the aim he scored however didn’t obtain the nod of the supervising workforce. General, it’s positively going to be a dark evening within the Indian camp; the penalty they conceded and the penalty they have been apparently denied could possibly be a matter of sizzling debate for weeks to return.

However then, India paid for his or her somewhat lacklustre defensive show within the first half. Mahesh Singh Naorem’s staggering strike within the thirteenth minute that cancelled Malaysia’s seventh-minute lead seemed insufficient on the finish of the primary half because the Malaysian frontline repeatedly broke open India’s somewhat porous defence to select up three targets within the first session and go away the guests frantically trying to find an possibility. A extra cohesive show within the first 45 minutes would have modified the script, however that was to not be.

Whereas Dion Cools put Malaysia within the lead off a nook kick, Arif Amin struck one other within the twentieth minute from a penalty kick. Faisal Halim slotted in off a counter-attack three minutes earlier than the breather to widen the lead.

But, India tried their finest to make amends within the second half. That they couldn’t save the day was their dangerous luck to some extent. If the one disallowed aim upset their plans, the publish additionally stood between the aim and India on no less than two events. Mahesh Singh and Chhangte ripped aside the rival defence with frequent raids, nevertheless it didn’t bear the required fruits. They have been overwhelmed, however will surely not return from Kuala Lumpur as a disgraced lot. With little or no coaching time due to home commitments, Igor Stimac’s boys did a commendable job, nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient to troop out off the pitch because the winners.

India XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Nikhil Poojary (Nandhakumar Sekar 81′), Sandesh Jhingan, Mehtab Singh, Akash Mishra (Roshan Singh Naorem 62’); Mahesh Singh Naorem, Rohit Kumar (Udanta Singh 81′), Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sunil Chhetri (Liston Colaco 63′).



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