India was defeated by defending champions Uzbekistan by 0-3 on Friday in the qualifier of the AFC Under-23 Football Championship. Uzbekistan skipper Islomjon Kobilov scored the goal in the first half with a penalty goal.
India managed to create a chance early on as Rahul KP was played through on the flank by Anwar Ali. The Kerala attacker put in a cross, but Daniel could not connect with it in time.
However, Uzbekistan started pressing high up the pitch after the initial exchanges, and they got a good chance around the half-hour mark when Alijanov Ilkhomjon was played through inside the six-yard-box by Amonov Azizbek. But Vinit Rai stepped in with a crucial block.
Uzbekistan laid the proverbial siege on the Indian third ahead of the half time break, but the visiting team's defence held on with Anwar Ali making some brave interceptions deep inside the penalty area.
The host's efforts finally paid off in injury time of the first half when it was awarded a penalty. Captain Kobilov made no mistake, as he slotted it into the bottom corner to put his side in the lead.
In the second half, substitute player Bobir Abdixolikov brought the ball in the net twice in the last 10 minutes. India initially made some chances but could not cash in on any occasion. Now the Indian team has to play the final qualifier match against Tajikistan on Sunday.
The home side came out with more attacking intent in the second half.
Five minutes later, Abdixolikov made it 3-0 for the home side, ending Indian hopes of a comeback.
Thatal lit up the eyes of the Indian fans with a jinking run from the left wing, as he cut inside and let one rip, but his shot thudded off the woodwork.
India is set to play its final qualifier against Tajikistan on Sunday.