A penalty save from goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and Rahul Bheke's first international goal could not prevent the Indian team from a 2-1 loss against Bahrain n the international friendly, in Manama City on Wednesday. Goals from Mohamed Hardan and Mahdi Humaidan sealed the deal for Bahrain.
This was a landmark match for the Indians, where as many as five players made their international debuts. While coach Igor Stimac named VP Suhair and Danish Farooq in the starting list, Naorem Roshan Singh, Aniket Jadhav, and Anwar Ali came on the field in the second half.
It all started with the world no.89 side, Bahrain dominating the proceedings in the first half, as they earned a penalty in just the sixth minute. But goalkeeper Sandhu anticipated Mahdi Humaidan’s spot-kick correctly and saved a goal for his side.
That did not stop Bahrain from attacking the Indian goal post, as 12 minutes later Mahroon’s shot crashed off the bar. There was a rebound by Humaidan, but the ball sailed over the cross-bars. India, towards the end of the first half did have a shot at the goal, when Manvir Singh met Rahim Ali’s cross, but the header by the former was a bit wayward.
A few minutes later, Bahrain did manage to score, as Mahroon floated the ball to Mohamed in the box, and the latter was able to score finally. After half-time, Stimac brought Roshan Singh in place of Liston Colaco, and the move almost instantly paid dividends as the debutant nearly scored with his first touch, as he tried to net Rahim's cross. But soon after, Bheke scored for India through a corner, in the 56th minute.
Later, the match-winner came in the 88th minute, as Humaidan made amends to his penalty miss and scored the winner for his team.
India next play Belarus in another international football friendly on March 26.