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Soccer: Yemen beat India 3-0

A depleted India lost 3-0 in the Asia Cup Group A qualifier on Wednesday.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 22:13 IST

Despite 21 rungs separating them from their opponent, from Yemen struck twice in the first half and then forced another down the hosts' throat to blank a depleted India 3-0 in the AFC Asia Cup Group A qualifier at the Ambedkar Stadiumon Wednesday.

A porous defence, clueless midfield and defunct forwardline saw India struggling throughout the match and a slightly better show after the lemon break had no impact on the outcome of the match.

It looked like a home match for the visitors with a motley crowd of 100-odd people cheering their heart out for Yemen, in contrast to the stoic local crowd that sat glued to their seat, watching their favourites running in the middle without purpose.

Before the sparse crowd could settle in their seats, a six minute goal by Salem Saeed Abdullah unhinged the entire Indian side, missing their key seven members due to injury, and the hosts were never in the game thereafter.

Abdullah's low, angular freekick somehow managed to go past the Indian wall and deflected by a player, the ball crashed into the net with goalkeeper Sandip Nandy rooted to the ground (1-0).

Once the Indian defence was exposed, Yemen resorted to playing long passes with Fekri Al-Hubaishi and Ali Al-Nono on the prowl upfront.

The Yemen forwards ran Indian defence in dizzy disarray and the visitors scored their second goal of the match in the 43rd minute. Al-Nono's solo run down the right flank outwitted Mehtab Hossain and NP Pradeep saw him feeding Al-Hubaishi and though it was almost impossible not to score from his position, the latter fumbled a bit before slotting it home (2-0).

With Surkumar Singh working like a trojan, India put up a slightly better show in the second half and Baichung Bhutia, clearly past his prime and a pale shadow of his yesteryears, showed glimpses of his class, but that was too little and too late. And conceding a third goal in the 56th minute in fact sealed the fate of the game in the visitors' favour.

Al-Nono's defence-splitting run caught the hosts napping and after Pradeep rugby tackled the forward, Iranian referee Mohsen Torky had little qualms about awarding a penalty and Al-Nono converted it, foxing Sandip Nandy (3-0).

The home side could not forge together a single incisive move to really test their opposition. In the first half, Surkumar dribbled past three Yemeni defenders but his cross went abegging while Rahim Nabi's weak header off a James Singh corner went wide.

In the second half, Mehtab Hossain once darted into the rival citadel dribbling past couple of defenders but, crammed for room, he could not have a go at the Yemen goal.

Indian coach Syed Naeemuddin replaced Mehtab with Dharamjit Singh but the latter was equally off-colour.

Baichung made his presence felt towards the end moving up and down, trying to initiate moves but was either let down by his team mates, or thwarted by the rivals.

India had lost their previous Asia Cup qualifier to Japan by a 6-0 margin.


India: Sandip Nandy, Mehrajuddin Wadoo (Abdul Hakkim), Mehtab Hussain, (Dharamjit Singh), Syed Rahim Nabi, Baichung Bhutia (c), James Singh (Manjit Singh), Surkumar Singh, Sanjeev Maria, NP Pradeep, Deepak Mandal and Micky Fernandes.

Yemen: Muaad Abdulwali, Mohammed Salem, Salem Saeed Abdullah, Ali Al-Nono, Ahmed Al-Wadi, Ali Al-Omqy (Mohammed Al-Tahoos), Akram Al-Worafi, Mohanad Munassar, Fadhi Al-Aroomi (Nashwan Eissa), Esam Awn, Fekri Al-Hubaishi (Fathi Ahmed).

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 19:30 IST