After a 5-0 trashing from United Arab Emirates, the Indian National Team faced a daunting must win clash against Jordan. Jordan had already won their first fixture against UAE and was looking for a chance to top the group, even a draw would conclude that. India lined up in their traditional 4-2-3-1 with Amrinder Singh, Pritam Kotal, Joyner Lourenco, Sandesh Jhinghan, Narayan Das, Siam Hanghal, Lalrindika Ralte, Francis Fernandes, Seminlen Doungel, Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh all part of the squad. The Indians needed to win by a goal difference of three, if they were to have any chance of progressing through to the next round.
Jordan who had fielded their U-21 side in the Competition rode on goals from Albashtawi Subhi Drzi and Thalji Yousef to seal the issue.
The twice Asian Games gold medallists looked grittier of the two in the initial exchanges. Seminlen Doungel – starting in place of Mandar Rao Desai – cantered some 40 yards down the left channel but his last touch let him down with the ball rolling out for a goal-kick.
East Bengal’s Lalrindika Ralte was the other change ringed in by Coach Wim Koevermans from the last game against UAE.
Jordan goalkeeper Abunabhan made a hash of Robin Singh’s teasing effort from just outside the box moments later, somehow latching on to the ball at the end. The intent was clear from India who had nothing to lose.
Robin then forced the keeper to another save before Jordan took the lead. Striker Albashtawi smashed home on the rebound after India custodian Amrinder Singh showed superb reflexes to parry away Israiwah’s initial effort from distance.
India’s best chance of the half came from Sunil Chhetri’s snapshot that almost kissed the post on its way out. Jordan closed the half better and their noses ahead.
The second half started on a similar note but there were very few goalmouth moments until Robin powered a shot from 25 yards but goalkeeper got enough behind it to keep him at bay.
Moments later, the red shirts doubled their lead. A cutback from the right found Thalji at the far post and he took two touches to first turn Pritam Kotal inside out and then smash the ball past Amrinder at his near post.
A pathetic Asian Campaign came to a close with two defeats from two games, conceding seven and scoring nil. Strange tactical decisions were made by the gaffer, more so than sticking with Franics Fernandes, who did absolutely nothing over the two matches. Given the form the team is in, it would be safe to say that their next friendlies against Palestine would result in a thrashing too. With possible replacements already lining up, perhaps it is time to bid Wim Koevermans adieu.