49th King’s Cup: India miss bronze medal after solitary goal loss to Lebanon
Chiang Mai (Thailand), Sep 10 (IANS) India’s return to Thailand for the 49th King’s Cup football competition ended in disappointment as they lost to Lebanon by a solitary goal in a hard-fought clash in the third-place playoff here on Sunday.
Kassam Al Zein scored with an acrobatic back-volley off a corner kick in the 77th minute in the hard-fought clash which was enough to seal Lebanon’s first victory against India in 2023.
Igor Stimac’s team made many attacks, parking themselves in the Lebanon half for most of the second half but their search for an equaliser proved futile.
After a goalless first half in which both teams made many attempts, India survived a close call in the 48th minute when goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh pulled off a save.
In the 64th minute a horrendous goof-up in defence nearly spelt doom for India before Gurpreet dashed out in the nick of time, sweeping the ball away.
In the 69th minute, Brandon Fernandes managed to release a perfect pass under intense pressure. Rahul KP made a spirited sprint to reach the ball and made a pass but Lebanon keeper Khalil rushed out to collect it safely.
India had a chance in the 79th minute when Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nikhil Raj displayed slick teamwork, with Chhangte cutting inside and unleashing a shot at the goal. But the attempt sailed high and wide.
In the 90th minute, Brandon Fernandes stepped up to take a free kick from the right, but his shot was quickly cleared away by the Lebanon defence,
The match ended 1-0 in favour of Lebanon, leaving the Indian men’s team disappointed.