Dhaka: Indian football team was held to a goal-less draw by Bangladesh in its last group match of the AFC Under-23 Championship Qualifying round, which was marred by 40 minutes of power blackout during halftime here.
The Group E match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium reduced almost to a farce as the two teams had to wait for 40 minutes for resumption after the first half. When power was restored, the players looked jaded and they lost momentum and it was clearly visible on the field.
As the players were on their way to the ground from the dressing room for the restart after the interval, the stadium was enveloped with total darkness. The players went back to the dressing room, waited and got cooled down in the process. The wait lasted another 40 minutes, making the interval 55 minutes in total.
The energy level which saw the Indians dominate their rivals in the first half was nowhere visible. There was no shape maintained and the players, at times, played almost at a walking pace.
The Indians have experienced a difficult time here in the tournament as the bus carrying them from their training session yesterday caught fire and smoked spewed from the rear, leading to a huge panic among the contingent.
They immediately vacated the bus and police escort vehicles dropped them at team hotel after they were left stranded at the Dhaka streets for a while.
With the draw today, a winless India ended their campaign with just one point from three matches and ended third in the four-team group. They failed to advance to the next stage.
Ten group winners and five best second-placed teams from all groups will join hosts Qatar at the AFC U-23 Championship in 2016.