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Jordan v India Match Report, 17/11/18

2 - 1
Amer Shafi' (25)
Ehsan Haddad (58)
N. Kumar (61)
King Abdullah International Stadium
India fight valiantly before going down 2-1 against Jordan
12:23 AM IST 18/11/18
India vs Jordan
The Men in Blue were ultimately done in by errors from their custodian....

A beleaguered Indian side put up a valiant display but went down 2-1 to Jordan at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Al-Qweismeh, Amman on Saturday night. 

A freak goal from Jordan's goalkeeper Amer Shafi (25') gave the hosts the lead which was doubled by Ehsan Haddad (58') in the second half. India were a much better side after conceding the second and even pegged one back when Nishu Kumar (61') scored on his international debut. However, they could not find the equaliser. 

India head coach Stephen Constantine was forced to make wholesale changes to the side that drew 0-0 against China PR and went into the match without a genuine striker as all the forwards at his disposal arrived in Amman with just 24 hours before kick-off.

In the absence of Sandesh Jhingan in the starting XI, the armband was handed over to Gurpreet Singh who held his place under the sticks. He was protected by a back four comprising of Pritam Kotal, Salam Ranjan Singh, Anas Edathodika, and Subhasish Bose. Pronay Halder and Germanpreet Singh started as the two defensive screeners. The two flanks were occupied by Jackichand Singh and Jerry Lalrinzuala. It was 20-year-old Anirudh Thapa who led the lines for India. 

On the other hand, Jordan head coach Vital Borkelmans saw this as the perfect opportunity to rest five key players including the first-choice goalkeeper Moataz Yaseen, given that they take on Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. He also had to do without the services of their injured star player Musa Al-Taamari along with Obaida Al-Samarneh and Mahmoud Al-Mardi who were on the sick-list as well. 

India showed too much respect to Jordan in the initial stages and were pinned in their own half right from the first whistle as Jordan took the match by the scruff of its neck. They could have found the opener when Yaseen Al Bakhit's volley struck Kotal's hand inside the box from close range and the referee had no hesitation to award a penalty to Jordan. But Gurpreet stood tall and dived the right way to parry away Bani Attiah's effort from the spot. The loose ball fell for Al Bakhit who tried to chip in from an acute angle but the shot-stopper was once again equal to the task. 

But fortune turned its back on Gurpreet as India fell behind on the 25th minute with only the goalkeeper to be blamed. His opposite number Amer Shafi kicked it long from his box which caught Gurpreet off the line. The ball further took an awkward bounce right in front of him which left the goalkeeper wrong-footed and although the Bengaluru FC shot-stopper's attempts to palm it away only saw the ball go into the net. 

Borkelmans' men could have doubled their lead on the 40th minute when Haddad got the better of Bose and fired a cross across the face of goal. Al Bakhit latched onto it and pulled the trigger which beat Gurpreet once again but a goal-line clearance from Bose saved India's blushes on that occasion. 

India were lucky to find the scoreline unchanged at 1-0 at the break as Jordan's Baha Faisal missed a simple tap in.

Although Jordan continued their dominance, India started seeing more of the ball than they did in the opening half. With Ashique Kuruniyan coming on from the bench, India started stringing quite a few passes at the centre of the park. Just when it seemed that India were starting to get a foothold in the game, Haddad doubled the lead in the 58th minute as he beat Gurpreet at his near post after he being set up by Ahmad Sameer to finish off a brilliant counter-attacking move. 

Constantine reacted quickly and brought on Nishu Kumar in place of Jackichand Singh. The substitute had an immediate impact on the game as he found the net within minutes from coming into action. Germanpreet Singh played a low cross from the left which fell for an unmarked Nishu, who produced a fantastic finish to pull one back for India in the 61st minute. Credit must also go to Thapa who took a defender out of the equation with a run to the near post. 

India continued to play a high line and started putting more bodies in the opposition half in search of an equaliser. They raided Jordan's fort on quite a few occasions but were unable to breach it for the second time. Pronay Halder should have turned home Sumeet Passi's flick-on from a Narayan Das corner late on. 

However, the Indian team management would be a content with the dispaly that the boys put up in the last 30 minutes, given the sheer number of players they were missing out on. 

The Men in Blue will once again get back to action on December 27 when they take on Oman as part of their preparations of the AFC Asian Cup