Sharjah [UAE], Jan 15 (ANI): India's hopes of entering the knockout stage of AFC Asian Cup 2019 for the first time were dashed by Bahrain, who scored a last-minute goal through a penalty, thereby going on to lose 0-1 and crashed out of the tournament.
The Men in Blue were on the verge of booking their maiden knockout round berth of the tournament and a draw would have been sufficient for them to progress to the Round of 16.
The scoreline was 0-0 when in the 90th minute, when Bahrain's Hamed Alshamsan was brought down by India's Pronay Halder, thereby conceding a penalty late in the game.
In the end, Jamal Rashed scored the first and decisive goal for Bahrain, easily scoring past Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh to spark wild celebrations and breaking the hearts of Indian players and fans.
Earlier in the game, both India and Bahrain played some attacking football. But it was the latter, who had the ball possession in their favour and were always a dangerous side for the Men in Blue.
Both sides had ample opportunities to give a clear lead in the match, only to be thwarted by their respective goalkeepers and some good defending by the strikers.
India received a setback when in the fourth minute, Anas Edathodika limped off the field with an injury and was replaced with Salam Ranjan Singh. However, despite the change, Bahrain went a notch ahead and put the Indian defence under immense pressure, attempting to score a goal and gain an upper hand in the match.
Monday's results meant India ended their journey at the AFC Asian Cup 2019 by finishing fourth in the Group A table with just three points (1 win and 2 losses) in three matches Hosts UAE, who played out a 1-1 draw against Thailand in the second game, topped the group with five points.
Thailand and Bahrain finished second and third respectively in the table, ending at four points each.
Since the AFC Asian Cup was founded in 1956, India had qualified for four Asian Cups -- 1964, 1984, 2011, and the current 2019 edition. They were the runners-up in the 1964 edition held in Israel. (ANI)