India lose 0-2 to Iraq

Sharjah : India conceded an early penalty and let in another goal in the second session to suffer a 0-2 defeat against Asian champions Iraq in their first international friendly match of the month here on Thursday.

Iraq, who did not field a few of their regular key players, dominated the match and India were left to defend for most part of the match.

Bob Houghton`s men also lacked sting in the upfront with the absence of key strike duo of regular captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who is yet to attain full fitness, and Sunil Chhetri
who suffered an ankle injury a few days back.

Abhishek Yadav and Sushil Kumar began at the upfront and the former was later substituted by Mohammed Rafi.

India conceded a penalty in the 16th minute and Mustafa Kareem beat Indian goalkeeper Subrata Paul, who otherwise had a superb match with some fine saves.

Mahdi Kareem then found the target in the 66th minute to take the game away from India.

The match is part of India`s preparations for the next year`s January 7-29 Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar. India play Kuwait on November 14 in Abu Dhabi and UAE on Novemeber 18 in Dubai.

Indian Team: Subrata Pal, Surkumar Singh (84th Deepak Kumar Mondal), Gouramangi Singh, Anwar, Syed Rahim Nabi (14th, Mahesh Gawli), Steven Dias (72nd Renedy Singh), Climax Lawrence, Rakesh Masih (82nd Baldeep Singh), Anthony Pereira, Abhishek Yadav (26th Mohammed Rafi), Sushil Kumar Singh.