New Delhi: Hours after landing in Hangzhou, the Indian football team was on the field taking on hosts China in their Asian Games Group A opener, and the lack of practice session showed in their performance, especially in the latter part of the second half when they conceded as many as four goals to lose 1-5 at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium on Tuesday.
With this, India’s winless record against China continued as they are still searching for their first win in 20 matches now. China’s U23 side had recently beat India 2-1 in a dramatic clash at Dalian earlier this month in the AFC U23 qualifiers.
This was India’s 57th game in the Asia Games history as they returned to the continental tournament after a break of 9 years. India last participated in 2014 at the Incheon Games.
On Tuesday, a well-oiled Chinese outfit started the encounter creating a series of chances in the first 20 minutes before India got Gurmeet Singh to save a couple of chances. Although India managed to defend a corner, Gao Tianyi got the team a perfect start by firing from close range to make it 1-0. But by the end of the first half, India managed to equalize courtesy a superb goal from Rahul KP, who used his speed to first get to the ball and slam an unerring finish at the goalkeeper’s near-post.
In the second half, China managed to restore the lead with Dai Weijun’s strike from distance less than five minutes in and then added three more to end the night with a four goal difference and top of the table standing in Group A.
“I think we need to be ourselves, and it’s important to have our own strategy and our own momentum,” said Dai Weijun, the Chinese midfielder after winning the match against India.
With two more games to be played in the group stage, India will fancy their chances for the knockout stages, as they regroup in the next 48 hours and return to take on Bangladesh on Thursday before facing Myanmar on Sunday.
Indian men’s volleyball record win
The Indian men’s volleyball team handed a 3-0 drubbing to Cambodia in their opening match of the competition at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Tuesday.
India warmed up in style for the sterner tests ahead by beating a lower-ranked Cambodia 25-14, 25-13, 25-19 in a Pool C match.
On Wednesday, the Indian team will be up against a formidable South Korea, the other team in Pool C. South Korea are ranked 27th in the world rankings, and quite expectedly it won’t be a cakewalk for the Indians.