King’s Cup 2023: India finish in last position after 1-0 loss against Lebanon


Indian football team against Lebanon on Sep 10, 2023
Image Source : TWITTER/AIFF Indian football team against Lebanon on Sep 10, 2023

Indian men’s football team suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Lebanon in the King’s Cup 2023 match for third place on Sunday, September 10. With a defeat, Sunil Chhetri-less side finished Asia’s four-team invitational tournament in the last position.

After a heartbreaking defeat against mighty Iraq on penalties, the Blue Tigers faced Lebanon at the 700th Anniversary of Chiang Mai stadium in Thailand. Lebanon’s centre-back Kassem El Zein scored a stunning goal in the 77th minute to deny India a bronze medal. Indian players protested El Zein’s goal for a potential offside strike, but the official ruled out their appeal.

El Zein was excellent while defending as he cleverly cleared out Lallianzuala Chhangte in the first half. Lebanon’s midfield also dominated with more possession of the ball and better passing throughout the game. After El Zein’s goal, Indian forwards pushed for the goal with some good chances but Lebanon’s defence was strong enough to deny the Gurpreet Singh Sandhu-led side an equalizer.

India’s star centre-back Sandesh Jhingan was critical of the officials and stated it would be a joke if the goal was an offside. India’s loss against Iraq also brought sharp criticism from Indian players and head coach Igor Stimac over the poor decisions for allowing Iraq two penalties. 

“We are disappointed we didn’t win. We dominated the whole match. I need to see the goal again, If it was offside, it’s a joke. Last game, it was never a penalty. If this one is offside, it’s a joke. I hope it’s onside because if it’s not, it’s a horrendous decision,” Sandesh Jhingan told reporters after the loss against Lebanon.

India Playing XI: Gurpreet Sandhu (c & gk); Asish Rai, Sandesh Jhingan, Anwar Ali, Akash Mishra; Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sahal Abdul Samad, Mahesh Singh; Manvir Singh

Lebanon Playing XI: Mehdi Khalil (gk); Abdallah Moughrabi, Maher Sabra, Hassan Saad, Mohamad Haidar (c), Ali Tneich, Nader Matar, Jihad Ayoub, Walid Shour, Kassam El Zein, Bassel Jradi

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