Abu Dhabi: Reduced to nine men after a couple of early red cards, the Indian football team lost 0-3 to the United Arab Emirates in a second-round qualifying match for the World Cup.
Defender Debabrata Roy and goalkeeper Subrata Paul were red carded in the 21st and 24th minutes as India were left with just nine men for more than an hour in the match at Sheikh Khlaifa Bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday.
Hamdan Al Kamali and Ismail Al Hammadi converted the spot kicks which resulted from the infringements by Roy and Paul in the 21st and 24th minutes.
Al Hammadi added another goal in the 80th minute to complete the tally.
After the 0-3 loss, it will now be a huge task for India to progress to the next round as they need to beat UAE by a bigger margin in New Delhi in the return leg on July 28. Roy and Paul, India's number one goalkeeper, will have to sit out of that match at the Ambedkar Stadium.
The match seemed over even before it started as India failed to recover from the two-man as well as two-goal deficit in the span of three minutes.
Roy was red-carded for pushing Mohammed Al Shhehi while Paul was given the marching orders for an infringement on Ismail Al Hammadi.
Down to nine-men, India had little options but to defend. Coach Armando Colaco, quite helpless, replaced Steven Dias with goalkeeper Karanjit Singh and striker Sunil Chhetri fell back in an effort to crowd the midfield with Jeje Lalpekhlua staying upfront, almost a spectator all throughout.
The start, nevertheless, was promising. India earned two corners in the fifth minute and rival goalkeeper Ali Khaseif even missed the flight of Dias' second corner.
The midfield did not allow much space to the rivals and Gourmangi Singh and Raju Gaikwad looked composed at the defence.
The Indians need to be credited for not allowing UAE to run away with the match. India let in just one goal after they were down to nine-men by the 24th minute.