India put a valiant fight but went down 2-0 to UAE in their second group game of the AFC Asian Cup at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night. Goals in each half from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Ahmed Mabkhout fired UAE to the top of Group A.
Hvaing seen India create a flurry of goalscoring chances against a strong opponent, fomer India international Subhash Bhowmick attributed the loss to bad luck.
"The attitude of the team has changed. Their approach to big games has changed. They are not suffering from any mental hangover before facing such a strong team like UAE. Yesterday luck did not favour us. The goal Sunil missed, he would not miss the next three times, given the types of goals he is scoring these days. It was sheer bad luck.
"We committed a few technical mistakes. The marking was not up to the mark during the first goal. But that doesn't make any difference in the larger scheme of things," stated the player-turned coach.
The former East Bengal manager praised India's body language and the physical fitness of the players.
"The body language and the way they covered the whole pitch is outstanding. I have not seen a fitter Indian football team in my career. I am worried about the result (though). I would request Sunil (Chhetri) to continue for a few more years.
"We were compact at the back. There were a few defensive lapses, which is common for every team. (You saw) how UAE gave away so many chances to India? In football, 90 per cent is the technical ability and 10 per cent is the chance factor. The 10 per cent did not work yesterday," opined Bhowmick.
But he remains optimistic about India's chances against Bahrain and subsequent qualification to the knock-out stages.
"This Indian team can do anything. Yesterday I saw Bahrain match (against Thailand). This Indian team does not have much difference with the Bahrain team. And I will not be surprised if India wins on Monday," concluded the Asian Games bronze medal winner.