Amman: India went down 1-2 to Jordan in an international football friendly here Saturday, an improved second-half performance failing to salvage a draw for the visitors.
This was a climbdown for Stephen Constantine’s men weeks after holding World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi’s higher-ranked China to a goalless stalemate. The 97th ranked India, though, were without their talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri, who was ruled out of the game due to an injury.
The journey to the Jordan capital from New Delhi was also far from smooth for the Indian players, many of whom were left stranded at Kuwait City airport as flash floods in this part of the world disturbed the flight schedule.
Goalkeeper cum captain Amer Shafi put Jordan ahead with a free goal in the 25th minute. Thanks to the howler from India custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who failed to read the bounce of his counterpart’s shot from the other end of the pitch, Jordan led 1-0 at the break. Ehsan Haddad consolidated Jordan’s position and made it 2-0 with his 58th minute strike.
Coming on as a substitute for Jackiechand Singh, debutant Nishu Kumar pulled one back for the visitors when he found the net from a close range in the 61st minute. That was only his second touch of the game.
While he goofed up to concede the game’s first goal at the King Abdullah International Stadium, Gurpreet also saved a penalty in the 10th minute. India’s number one goalkeeper dived to his right to deny Baniatiyeh. While India upped their game after the break, the first half action was eventful, as it included a missed penalty, one booking and a howler by India captain Sandhu. The game against the 112th ranked Jordan was in preparation for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.