Under Igor Stimac, this was India's best 90-minute performance so far as both the defence and attack held on and produce good over the entire span of the football match. It was only a mistake from Jerry Lalrinzuala that conceded the penalty that allowed Syria to draw level but other than that, India showed good signs for the way forward.
Goalscorer Narendra Gahlot to the broadcasters: "I was only thinking of getting to the ball at any cost. It was a good ball, which came to my head, and I am thankful to (Anirudh) Thapa bhai for that."
"As a team we have done well. The coach hasn't put me under any pressure. Sunil (Chhetri) bhai and (Sandesh) Jhingan bhai have given me a lot of support even when I haven't played well. The first game wasn't good but we lose and win together."
Igor Stimac to the broadcasters: "We are going to analyse our mistakes today. There were some mistakes when we were pushed down. I read some comments that I should be nurturing these footballers. This is not academy football and I shouldn't be nurturing these players. We have shown that we have great talents, never mind how they play, good or bad. If they play, they will get better. I was not brought here to bring you one win, one loss and in the middle somewhere. It's easy to play teams somewhere below range. To get the team to play good football, it takes time. We'll take some sacrifice and lots of suffering but we need to be patient.
"I try to teach them bit by bit. I tried it before the second game but they lost it completely. These were three games before the qualifiers. I have to choose now -- 15-16 or 20 players who will play for India.
"They (fans) were amazing. With positive support. I am asking the media to be patient. Results will come. We know exactly what we need to do."
The result means India have knocked Syria out of the Intercontinental Cup 2019! The pre-tournament favourites Syria are not going to play the final in Ahmedabad on Friday. On Friday, the tournament will have a new champion as Tajikistan and DPR Korea take on each other at the EKA Arena. India end the tournament on a positive note and will only look ahead from here.
The one mistake from Jerry Lalrinzuala means India settled for a 1-1 draw against Syria. Syria, who were the pre-tournament favourites, failed to convert their chances but a well-taken penalty from captain Faris Alkhatib brought them on level terms. What a night this for Narender Gahlot though, puts in a solid shift at the back and scores a brilliant header for India to help his team earn the draw. By far, under Igor Stimac, this was India's most complete 90-minute performance - the penalty being a minor blip.
So that's that! India have earned a 1-1 draw against Syria in the final league match of the Intercontinental Cup 2019. India exit the tournament with their first positive result in Ahmedabad and the crowd lets the team know that. The Icelandic claps are on as players thank the fans for their support.
FULL TIME: INDIA 1-1 SYRIA
92' Sunil Chhetri is replaced by Farukh Choudhary. Chhetri gets off the pitch as he receives a standing ovation from the crowd. He is revered figure and the crowd reaction shows exactly that.
India 1-1 Syria
89' Vinit Rai comes on for Sahal Abdul Samad. Just those last changes being rung in by Igor Stimac here. Vinit's first duty was to get to the end of a corner. Anirudh Thapa's delivery, however, is headed over by Rahul Bheke.
India 1-1 Syria
84' Udanta Singh is replaced by Manvir Singh. Manvir had started the previous game against DPR Korea and gets another chance here against Syria.
India 1-1 Syria
83' Amarjit's challenge on the edge of the box earns his a card and it's a free kick for Syria in a dangerous position but Alkhatib's free kick is pushed over by Gurpreet. The ball was going over already but the Indian keeper took no chance there. The resulting corner also went over.
India 1-1 Syria
82' Alkhatib's pleas of another penalty falls to deaf ears. Jerry almost gave another penalty there as he tugged on Alkhatib's shirt. He must thank his stars that Alkhatib had a stand off with the referee earlier and that might have influenced the decision. This is getting tricky for India now.
India 1-1 Syria
78' PENALTY FOR SYRIA! Jerry, who had just come on for Mandar, conceded a clear cut penalty and India are punished for their mistake.
GOAL! Syria captain Firas Alkhatib buries the penalty depsite Gurpreet Singh Sandhu guessing it right. This has just brought Syria back in the game and now, they will go even harder for the win.
India 1-1 Syria
66' A foul is given against Chhangte as he battle for the ball. He was released on the left wing and was running down the channel when the Syrian defender closed him down. As the defender goes down, referee blows the whistle and Chhangte smiles while running back. Replays show that Chhangte did not have got any contact on the defender.
India 1-0 Syria
Here's a video of the Narender Gahlot header!
📽️ @NarenderGahlot rose above everyone else and beautifully nodded in the header to put India in front! 🤩🤩— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) July 16, 2019
IND 🇮🇳 1-0 🇸🇾 SYR#IndianFootball #HeroIC 🏆 #BackTheBlue #BlueTigers #INDSYR pic.twitter.com/TTOGjN9flC
A first goal for Narender Gahlot for the Indian national team and what a moment to score it. The 18-year-old showed excellent physicality to jump for the ball and head that in. One for the future!
52' GOAL! Narender Gahlot has put India in the lead here. Absolutely brilliant from the youngster. Anirudh Thapa takes the corner kick and floats the ball beautifully in the centre, Narender times his jump to perfect and connects his head with the ball brilliantly to put the ball at the back of the net. This should give India a lot of confidence.
India 1-0 Syria
51' GOAL! Narender finds the back of the net 🥅for the #BlueTigers 🐯with a thumping header off @AnirudhThapa's cross. 💪🔥— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) July 16, 2019
IND 🇮🇳 1-0 🇸🇾 SYR#IndianFootball #HeroIC 🏆 #BackTheBlue #BlueTigers #INDSYR pic.twitter.com/KxDezYFPeu
India kick off the second half. A lot trickier half awaits India as Syria are set to be pushing hard for a win while India will have to keep shape, hold the ball, concentrate on the ball and look to create their own chances.
India 0-0 Syria
2⃣nd- HALF KICK-OFF ⚽️ Can the #BlueTigers find the elusive W in the #HeroIC in the next 45 minutes?— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) July 16, 2019
IND 🇮🇳 0-0 🇸🇾 SYR#IndianFootball #HeroIC 🏆 #BackTheBlue #BlueTigers #INDSYR pic.twitter.com/B2D2nVKdRc
STAT ALERT: India have conceded 67 per cent of their goal in the Intercontinental Cup 2019 in the second half.
India will need to more concentrated and have a lot more energy in the second half as Syria will surely come out hard and try to get a goal. While India are playing for pride here, it is Syria who are in a must-win situation if they want to make it to the final of the tournament.
Improved defensive performance by us in the first half against #Syria— Shaji Prabhakaran (@Shaji4Football) July 16, 2019
We have to keep our discipline intact in the second half to end the #HeroIntercontinentalCup campaign in a positive note. #IndianFootball #HeroIC #INDvSYR HT: 0-0
India have given a fair account of themselves so far. There were a few mistakes but Syria would rue the fact that they did not punish those Indian mistakes. On the whole, India have created a couple of chances up front (they'd want to do better in that department) but they've been quite solid at the back with the whole backline being supported by the entire midfield as well. Intriguing bit of play, Syria will surely threaten more in the second half and India will need to keep up their concentration and continue the good work.
India 0-0 Syria at half time!
Narender Gahlot scored a header as India drew 1-1 with Syria in Intercontinental Cup 2019. (Photo Credit: @IndianFootball)
Both India and Syria had their fair share of chances in the first half but failed to make them count. Both sides were guilty of spraying their chances and the physicality took over in the second half. This is where India gave a good account of themselves as they remained concentrated for most part of the match.
India, under new coach Igor Stimac, are a work-in-progress as they try to play possession-based football. Stimac, who is coaching India in only his second tournament, has made a lot of changes over the course of Intercontinental Cup an King's Cup but on Tuesday, he put up his best starting XI of the available players and it paid dividends.
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