India Falls 1-5 to China in Asian Games 2023 Opener

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Rahul KP’s solo goal in vain as India’s men’s football team loses 1-5 to hosts China in Asian Games 2022 opener in Hangzhou.

In Asian Games 2023 opener, the Indian football team faces a 1-5 defeat against China. (Photo: AIFF)

In their opening game of the Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou, the Indian men’s football team endured a humiliating 1-5 defeat at the hands of China. The match witnessed Giao Tianyi (17th minute), Dai Weijun (51st minute), Tao Qianglong (72nd and 75th minute), and Hao Fang (90+2) scoring five goals for the host nation, while Rahul KP’s (45+1 minute) equalizer from a sharp angle stood out as a lone bright spot.

The first half showcased a valiant effort from India’s third-string team, as goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh Chahal brilliantly saved a penalty taken by China’s captain Zhu Chenjie. However, the lack of specialist defenders and cohesion among the Indian players was evident. China exploited India’s wide left (China’s right flank) manned by Sumit Rathi, leading to numerous attacks.

The combination of humidity and limited training time took a toll on the Indian team’s stamina, with several players suffering cramps. Sandesh Jhingan’s defensive errors further compounded India’s woes. Despite Sunil Chhetri’s presence on the field, the Indian attack struggled to create opportunities. Rahul KP’s remarkable goal was a standout moment in an otherwise disappointing performance.

India now faces the challenge of defeating Bangladesh and Myanmar in their remaining games to advance in the tournament. Myanmar, in the same group, secured a 4-2 victory over Bangladesh.

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Toshika Chauhan

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