India suffered a 0-6 defeat at the hands of United Arab Emirates – their heaviest defeat against the Gulf side – in the second international football friendly in Dubai on Monday.
Igor Stimac’s side did not get a single shot on target in what was a truly forgettable performance.
Striker Ali Mabkhout scored a hat-trick with goals in the 12th, 32nd and 60th minutes while Khalil Ibrahim (64th), Fabio Lima (71st) and Sebastian Tagliabue (84th) added the other three.
India gave a good account of themselves in their first friendly match against fancied Oman on March 25 eking out a 1-1 draw but against the UAE, they were struggled right through the match.
India were without their skipper Sunil Chhetri, who had tested positive for Covid-19, but the gulf in the class and technical superiority between the two teams was all too apparent.
Defender Sandesh Jhingan was also rested as Stimac experimented with new players from his 27-member squad.
The draw against Oman had given a lot of hope to the Indians, who are placed at 104 in the Fifa rankings, heading into their clash with UAE, who are ranked 74. But the match was hardly competitive.
It turned out to be the heaviest defeat against the UAE, going past the 0-5 loss in an international friendly in 2010 in Abu Dhabi.
Stimac said just before the match that his players should be able to make quick decision against a technically superior UAE. But India struggled to make an impression throughout.
UAE had 67% possession as against India’s 33 in the first half during which Ali Mabkhout chipped one over Indian goalkeeper and captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and then scored from the spot after Adil Khan handled the ball inside the box.
The second half was no better for India, unlike against Oman when they fought back to equalise, as UAE toyed with India’s defence to pump in four more goals.
After Ali Mabkhout completed his hat-trick at the hour mark, Khalil Ibrahim completed a fine finish with a first-time shot in the 64th minute to make it 4-0 before Fabio Lima completed the rout with two more goals in the 71st and 84th minute.
India’s only noteworthy move came just before half-time when Liston Colaco, who made his debut on Monday, found Manvir Singh with a superb through ball but the striker’s shot was blocked by the onrushing UAE keeper.
The international friendly matches are being played as part of preparations for the joint qualification round for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup to be played in June.
(With inputs from PTI)
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