The King’s Cup is a short knockout format tournament between four teams – Thailand (hosts, rank 113), Lebanon (rank 100), India (rank 99) and Iraq (rank 70). India lost to Iraq 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the King’s Cup. Both teams were tied 2-2 after the end of regulation time. Naorem Mahesh Singh and Nikhil Poojary got the goals for India.
India has faced Iraq on six occasions in their history, drawing twice and losing four while having never defeated their opponents. Iraq are the clear favourite for the tournament as the seventh-highest-ranked team in Asia. India played really well against the favourites at some time it looked like they would win the match, but unfortunately they lost.
India goes down fighting against Iraq
Mahesh Naorem Singh took the lead in the 16th minute. Pen Karim equalized for Iraq in the 28th minute. India and Iraq tied 1-1 in the first half. In the second half, Akash Mishra’s shot was mistaken by Iraq goalkeeper Jala Hasan, and he failed to control it. The ball went into the net and India took a 2-1 lead. In the 72nd minute, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a superb save to prevent Iraq from equalizing. India’s defense was also strong and they prevented Iraq’s efforts.
But Iraq got a penalty in the 80th minute when Nikhil Pujari and Sandesh Jhingan brought down the Iraqi players in the penalty area. Ayman Hussain scored the equalizer for Iraq. Hussain came close to a third goal in the 84th minute, but his header was saved well by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Former Manchester United player Zidane Iqbal elbowed India’s Fernandes in the face and the referee immediately sent him off with a red card. The match went to a penalty shootout due to a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
Fernandes missed the first penalty which proved costly for India. Both penalties awarded to Iraq in regulation time have been mired in controversy. There is talk that the referee has done injustice to the Indian team.
Here’s how fans reacted
Very good game, India. I was extremely impressed with the quality of your players and how much they wanted to win. Good luck in the future and I am certain you are heading in the right direction!
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— Iraq Football Podcast (@IraqFootballPod) September 7, 2023
Good game against a top Asian side team…Future is bright as long as stimac is there wth this team,on to the next game ??
— Divyansha Kaushik (@itsdivyanshak) September 7, 2023
No issues. Whole team played well. Much better than clear the ball and sit back type of play.
— Harsha (@Harsha111000) September 7, 2023
We were robbed.Need to show the aukat to these penraq next time .
— Akaash Chatterjee (@XxllAkaashllxX) September 7, 2023
Winner in my eyes, refree fraud
— Aryan Yadav ?? (@AryanYa27) September 7, 2023
Holding A 70 rank full strength iraq to a 2-2 draw nd loosing in Penalties is a massive W imo.
— ???? (@Ikmitra1) September 7, 2023
India robbed tbh.. India is a winner for me. When this decade is up, India's rise in football will be one of the stories of the sports world. Jai hind ??
— LAKSHYA (@LukaCluster) September 7, 2023
Amazing performance. We literally struggled vs Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh few years back. Now getting a draw vs Iraq feels like disappointment. Proud of you lads. Win that 3rd placed game now ????
— StrongBohiemen249 (@ChavanAkshad) September 7, 2023