On 7 September 2023, India locked horns with Iraq in the semi-final of the King’s Cup at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Iraq are the 70th-ranked team in the world while India are the 99th-ranked team. Even, Iraq are the seventh-best team in Asia. So, it was a huge task for the Men in Blue.
India’s talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri did not play the match due to the birth of his first child recently. Along with him, they were not having the services of Lallianzuala Chhante as he got ruled out with fever and left-back Askash Misha due to a broken arm. So, fans were expecting the team to show some courageous effort against the mighty Iran.
The game ended 2-2 after the regulation time of 90 minutes
Speaking of the match, it was an even start for both teams and in the seventh minute, Iraq had a chance. But, it was India who scored the opener in the 16th minute. Naorem Mahesh scored the goal and Abdul Sahal Samad came up with the assist. Then, Iraq tried for an equalizer and in the 28th minute, they were added with a penalty after the ball hit the hand of Sandesh Jhingan. The Team India defender also received a yellow card for that. Al-Hamadi scored from the spot and made it 1-1. Thus, the first half ended 1-1.
In the second half, India again took the lead in the 51st minute. Iraq’s goalkeeper made a howler and the ball rolled into the net. Then, in the 79th minute, Iraq were awarded another penalty as Aymen Ghadhban got squeezed by two defenders. In the 80th minute, Aymen scored and made it 2-2. Finally, the game ended 2-2 and it went to the penalty shootout. But, Brandon hit the post and the ball did not go into the net in the first penalty. Iraq came up with five excellent penalties while India scored the rest four penalties. Thus, India lost to Iraq 5-4 in the shootout.
Here is how fans have reacted:
Boys na Dil Jeet liya
— Prince Choudhary (@PrinceK89248354) September 7, 2023
Well Played 👍
— SHAYAR 🥀🖤 (@iam_shayar) September 7, 2023
Well tried guys 💙
— 𝐕𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐤 (@Its_Vivekk) September 7, 2023
Why Brandon why 😭
— Sai (@sai_k15) September 7, 2023
Well Played India 👏
— JIMMY GEORGE (@jimmytg619) September 7, 2023
Bro it's brutal..they played brilliantly,😭😭
— Aman Chopade (@aman_chopade) September 7, 2023
How come out goalkeeper can't save a single one
— SSRaghuvanshi (@raghuvanshi_ss) September 7, 2023
Well played. Extremely unlucky not to win it.
— Arko Prabha Mukherjee (@CFCArko) September 7, 2023
Well played yar🥲
— A📖🕉️ (@inevitable__31) September 7, 2023