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Asian Cup Diaries - Everybody wants Chhetri, an Iraqi dream come true

Yusuf before Iraq's game against Vietnam outside the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Yusuf before Iraq's game against Vietnam outside the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
 

The Asian Cup is considered the World Cup for Asian nations, and one can see a glimpse of that in the playing styles on display. The West Asian nations (Saudi Arabia, Iran) are tough, rugged and play a fairly physical game, while those from further east (China, South Korea) are quick, technical and extremely clever at controlling the tempo in games. Then there are teams like India, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Turkmenistan, who are either all on debut or returning to this tournament after a...

Sunil Chhetri rues missed chances in game of 'small margins' vs UAE

Sunil Chhetri during the game against UAE
Sunil Chhetri during the game against UAE.

There were many things that happened during the India-UAE match at the Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi on January 10 that locals don't remember having happened before.

India outshot their opponents in the first half, the UAE players went up to coach Alberto Zaccheroni at half time and confessed they had not expected India to be so sharp. A capacity crowd of 43,208 turned up at the Zayed Sports City Stadium for the first time, a ground that has hosted multiple World Club Cup finals, with Cristiano Ronaldo...

Ratings: Thapa shines, Anas 3/10 as defensive lapses cost India

Defensive lapses cost India three points vs the UAE.

India failed to take their chances as UAE handed them a 2-0 defeat on Thursday to keep Group A of the Asian Cup wide open. The scoreline wasn't entirely reflective of the cagey affair at the Zayed Sports City Stadium that now puts the hosts in the driving seat for a spot in the next round.

Khaflan Mubarak's first-half goal was enough for UAE to go into the break with a lead and they carried that momentum into the second half with an assured performance, killing any hope of a comeback from India...

Sandesh Jhingan stands tall as poor finishing lets India down vs UAE

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United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
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Jhingan almost extracted an own goal from the UAE defence in injury time.
Jhingan almost extracted an own goal from the UAE defence in injury time.

In the last minute of regulation time during the first half, a free kick from UAE, leading 1-0 already, is floated in towards the near post from the left side of attack, even as the Indian defence prepares to cover the far post.

It brings together two giant men, with UAE defender Ismail Ahmed Mohamed using all of his 6'4" frame to edge ahead of centre-back Sandesh Jhingan, just three inches shorter, to glance a header towards Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The ball is collected, but a clash of heads leaves...