India lost 1-2 to Kyrgyz Republic in the final match of their AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign, Mirlan Murzaev and Anton Zemlyanukhin scoring for the hosts while Jeje Lalpekhlua managed a late consolation goal.

Prior to the match, the focus was on team selection there was outrage over the non-selection of Michael Soosairaj and a few others, who fans felt should have been picked. Stephen Constantine opted for Mohammed Rafique in midfield as Rowllin Borges’ partner in Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s absence.

Up front, Sunil Chhetri’s suspension meant that Balwant Singh supported Jeje Lalpekhlua, flanked by Udanta Singh and Holicharan Narzary. Pritam Kotal’s place on the right was taken by Lalruatthara.

How did the players fare in Bishkek?

Gurpreet Sandhu – 7

India’s skipper on the day had every right to be furious with the defence and made his displeasure known on a few occasions.

It was a very busy night for the Bengaluru FC stopper as he was the difference between a mauling and a 2-1 scoreline. Made a couple of smart stops and was involved far more than he would have preferred. Could do absolutely nothing for both the goals.

Lalruatthara – 3

Kotal hasn’t had the best of ISL campaigns, but even he would have felt Lalruatthara’s helplessness on Tuesday evenings. The Kerala Blasters man was chucked in at the deep end and he had zero support from Udanta ahead of him or from the two men sitting deep in the midfield.

Yet, the ex-Aizawl man was tentative all night as he came up against Zemlyanukhin, the opposition’s biggest threat. The defence must take collective responsibility, yet Ruatthara was caught out of position far too often, losing his man for the first goal.

Narayan Das – 2

Das did not have the same excuse as Ruatthara, as Narzary in front of him tracked back and helped his left-back. Caught badly out of position for the first goal, he could not block the cross from coming in.

Offered very little going forward as his deliveries left a lot to be desired. Could not manage a single successful cross in the first half. Hooked off at half-time, after Constantine had seen enough.

Sandesh Jhingan – 3

The Ministry of Defence is quite honestly, one of the most adored players in India, but doubts over him continue to persist. Didn’t have the greatest of ISL seasons and was quite headless in Bishkek.

The Blasters centre-back is the highest-paid defender in India but seemed lost at times. Didn’t have the positional discipline when called upon, leading to him being second-best on many an occasion. Rene Meulensteen was last seen laughing on a beach in Europe.

Anas Edathodika – 5

The Jamshedpur centre-back was the best in a bad bunch, not that it speaks volumes but it does establish Anas as the go-to-guy in this defence. Was partially culpable for the second goal, but did not shirk his man-marking duties. Was strong in the air but needs to build a better line of communication with his centre-back partner for the Asian Cup.

Rowllin Borges – 4

Stumbled his way throughout the game. In terms of commitment, can’t be questioned but his first touch resembled a pass at times. Counted by Constantine among his favourite lieutenants, Borges simply did not respond to the call this time.

Could not keep the ball in midfield, and let the Kyrgyz midfield bypass him completely. Was supposed to be India’s firefighter but failed to douse the flames in Bishkek. Still, created the two shots that most troubled Kyrgyz before Jeje’s goal. Also curled in a good free kick that hit the crossbar.

Muhammed Rafique – 3

See Borges, Rowlin above, minus the shots.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh will sleep soundly, knowing that his spot in the team is going nowhere.

Holicharan Narzary – 3

The only reason that Narzary is not declared the worst player of the match is due to his assist for Jeje’s goal. Other than that, his contribution to the game was a pinch of tracking back and putting in terrible balls to the forwards despite being afforded time unlike Udanta on the other flank.

It’s difficult to look at his contribution to the team and honestly say that he deserves to be in the team for UAE 2019.

Udanta Singh – 3

The Bengaluru FC man disappointed on the night, there was no doubt about it. In Chhetri’s absence and in light of his own good season, he was expected to shoulder more of the creative burden but was unable to influence proceedings.

Was in Sheratov’s pocket for most of the night and did not track back to help out his full-back. Ran down so many blind alleys that would have made Jackichand Singh proud, and on the rare occasions that the Kyrgyz left-back allowed him time and space, fluffed his lines.

Balwant Singh – 4

This was the Mumbai City forward’s chance to seal his seat to UAE. His spot should still be nailed on, but this performance will not impress Constantine. Failed to produce the trademark intelligent runs that he’s known for and could not link up with Jeje.

Will undoubtedly be back-up to Chhetri when he returns, but this was not a good night for the Hoshiarpur-born forward despite having a couple of strikes ruled out.

Jeje Lalpekhlua – 6

Saved his team’s blushes by converting the only clear-cut chance that came his way. Positioned himself well for the goal and headed it with aplomb.

Had one dangerous run in the first half and was brought down by the Kyrgyz captain on the edge of the box. Did little apart from that as the Balwant-Jeje partnership proved to be a damp squib. Still, did the thing expected of good forwards, and put away the only chance that came his way.

Jerry Lalrinzuala – 5 (Subbed on 45)

Jerry did better than the man he was brought on to replace, Narayan, as the Kyrgyz right flank was much quieter in the second half. Still a lot to be desired in attack, but gave some confidence to Narzary, eventually resulting in the goal originating from the left flank.

Len Doungel – 4 (Subbed on 60)

Replaced Udanta Singh but was guilty of the same poor-decision making as his predecessor. Can do much better but spurned a golden chance immediately after coming on. Was torn between tracking back and helping out the attack at times.

Anirudh Thapa – 5 (Subbed on 85)

Only a five-minute cameo for the youngster but a positive one. Controlled the ball much better in midfield, calmed his team down and passed it to Narzary for the latter’s assist. The 20-year-old been an on-off starter for Chennaiyin FC, but there is no doubt that his stock has grown this season.