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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

India puts up resilient defense but falls 0-2 to Australia in AFC Asian Cup opener

Jackson Irvine (50th minute) and Jordan Bros (73rd) scored for Australia

PTI Al Rayyan Published 13.01.24, 07:39 PM
India's Anirudh Thapa looks dejected after the match

India's Anirudh Thapa looks dejected after the match Reuters

Australia domianted India to beat the south Asian side 2-0 in their Asian Cup Group B opener on Saturday in front of a crowd largely made up of Indian fans at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

After a cagey opening 45 minutes, Australia got on the board through Jackson Irvine before Jordan Bos made it 2-0 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

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The encounter felt almost like a home game for India with the crowd at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium largely made up of fans from the Indian diaspora in Doha and they made their presence felt, roaring the team on despite Australia's early dominance.

Spurred on by the crowd, Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri missed a golden opportunity when he sent a header wide, but Australia turned the screws thereafter and controlled possession as India rarely managed to venture out of their own half.

With India pegged back, Connor Metcalfe saw one of his efforts swatted aside by Gurpreet Singh and Mitchell Duke had a close-range shot blocked by Sandesh Jhingan while Martin Boyle skied a volley from the edge of the six-yard box.

India held firm until the break, but five minutes after the restart Gurpreet failed to deal with a cross, his tame effort to palm it away falling to Irvine, who needed no second invitation to score.

The goal took the wind out of India's sails and Australia capitalised with a second in the 73rd minute when Riley McGree dribbled into the box and cut a pass back to Bos to score seconds after coming on.

The match also saw Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita become the first woman referee to officiate a men's Asian Cup encounter, with assistant referees Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi making it an all-female trio.

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