India came to play against Bahrain after a promising start in the tournament. They have stunned Thailand by 4-1 and lost to UAE by 0-2 but played exceptionally well. They have created lot of chances in both the matches. So Indian fans were expecting the team to go to the knockout round without much hustle. Bahrain on the other side did not play well so far. Somehow they managed to draw against UAE and lost to Thailand.
But as soon as the match started we observed a different story in Sharjah. Bahrain began to dominate the pitch with an attacking football. India was too deep while defending. India faced the first blow when Anas got injured in the second minute of the game and replaced by Salam Ranjan Singh. In the first half India failed to create a single opportunity but Bahrain came closer to score. Jhingan was standing like wall in between the goal post and Bharain strikers. Gurpreet was is good form as well. First half ended with 0-0 score line.
India started the second half in the similar passion with a deep defensive strategy. Surprising to see this strategy while they have created multiple scoring opportunity in previous two games against stronger opponent. In 90th minute Pronay missed the ball and tackled inside the box. Referee awarded penalty to Bahrain without hesitation. Jamal Rashid did not miss the opportunity to score from the spot.
Overall a very disappointing performance by the Indian players. Borges, Narazry and Ashique were poor with the ball in the first half. Passing and clearing were awful some time. Jeje replaced Ashique in the second half but failed to leave any mark. India finished fourth in the group when other three teams have been qualified from the group for the next round. India was one game away to create history but failed at very last moment.
As it happened, coach Constantine also decided to step down from his position. He has joined Indian team in 2015. His contract was up for renewal after Asian Cup. Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF stated that they haven’t received any official communication from him yet but they accept his decision & thank him for his contribution to Indian Football.