India vs Iraq Kings Cup 2023 semifinal: India succumb on penalty shootout to suffer heartbreaking defeat


Indian football team in Kings Cup on September 7
Image Source : TWITTER/AIFF Indian football team in Kings Cup on September 7

Indian men’s football team produced an impressive performance but suffered a heartbreaking defeat against Iraq in the King’s Cup 2023 semi-final match at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai on Thursday, September 7. Indian team dominated the Asian giants with an early lead and were ahead in the game for the majority of the 90 minutes. But a late goal from Iraq took the game to penalties where Iraq recorded a 5-4 win to book a spot in the final.

India’s star forward and captain Sunil Chhetri has been given the rest for this tournament but the Blue Tigers fielded a strong playing eleven against Iraq. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu donned the captain’s armband and Sandesh Jhinghan started at the heart of Indian defence. Both players are selected to represent India in the upcoming Asia Games 2023 and might sit out the next game for third place on September 10.

Mahesh Singh Naorem gave India a stunning lead with a calm finish with young midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad providing an excellent assist in the 16th minute. Iraq started playing with more attacking intention after conceding a goal and pulled off an equaliser through a penalty in the 28th minute.

Sandesh handled the ball in the inside box and conceded a deserved penalty and Iraq’s no.9 Ali Al-Hamadi converted into a goal with an easy finish past Gurpreet. Mohun Bagan’s striker Manvir Singh put India in the lead again with an easy goal in the 51st minute after a blunder from opponent goalkeeper Jalal Hasan. Iran’s equalizer came in the 80th minute from another penalty after Aymen Hussein was fouled by Indian centre-backs. 

In penalties, FC Goa captain Brandon Fernandes hit the post in the first attempt and that proved the difference as Iraq converted all their five attempts back into the net. Iraq will play the winner of the Lebanon vs Thailand match in the final while India will take on the other team in the fixture for third place on September 10.

Iraq Playing Xi: Jalal Hasan (GK), H. Ali, Sulaka, Putros, Doski, Ammari, Rashid, Bayesh, H. Ali, Resan, Ali Al-Hamadi

India Playing XI: Gurpreet Singh ( C & GK), Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Akash Mishra, Nikhil Poojary, Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Sahal Abdul Samad, Ashique Kuriniyan, Manvir Singh

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