Dubai: The Indian football team failed to recover from an early goal and suffered a 0-3 defeat to Azerbaijan in their second international friendly match at the Rugby 7s Stadium here on Monday.
India, who had lost to Oman 1-5 in their last match on Thursday, drew a blank while Nidirov Vugar (3rd minute), Mahir Shukurov (43rd) and Hasiyev Nizami (82nd) scored for Azerbaijan.
India once again conceded an early goal in the third minute when goalkeeper Subhasis Roychowdhury`s faulty clearance fell to a roving Nidirov Vugar, who blasted it in from the top of the box.
The second goal came two minutes prior to the interval. This time, Mahir Shukurov was brought down inside the box by Raju Gaikwad, who was flashed the yellow card. Shukurov gleefully converted from the spot.
Hasiyev Nizami scored Azerbaijan`s third goal in the 82nd minute to seal the match.
The Indians weren`t able to overcome the setback of conceding an early goal.
In the first half, there wasn`t much cohesion in the midfield and the back-four were kept busy all throughout.
There were occasions when India counter-attacked but they weren`t able to take a single shot at the goal as rival goalkeeper Achayev Kamran stood there as a mere spectator for the first 45 minutes.
After the change of ends, there was a bit more purpose in the midfield as a Francis Fernandes cross saw Kamran palming away a Joaquim Abranches` header in the 52nd minute.
But Azerbaijan slowed down the pace of the game. A Sushil Singh free-kick from just outside the box and a couple of corners weren`t enough to make an impact. The momentum faded away after a brief spell.
On the contrary, Azerbaijan pressed hard and were eventually rewarded with their third goal in 82nd minute. The Indian Team wore black armbands as a matter of
respect to the legendary Former India Captain Sailendra Nath Manna who passed away today morning. A minute`s silence was also observed on the field prior to the kick-off.
This was India`s last preparatory match ahead of their campaign in the AFC Challenge Cup to be held in Kathmandu in March.
India play Tajikistan in their first match at the AFC Challenge Cup on March 9.
The Indian Team would be returning back to Delhi from their Preparatory Camp in Dubai on March 3rd and proceeding to Kathmandu the next day.
India: Shubashish Roychowdhury; Syed Rahim Nabi, Gouramangi Singh (C), Raju Gaikwad, Gurjinder Kumar; Reisangmi Vashum (Lalrindika Ralte), Manish Maithani (Jewel Raja), Adil Khan (Lenny Rodrigues), Francis Fernandes (Lester Fernandes); Sushil Singh, Joaquim Abranches (Manandeep Singh).