Heartbroken but head held high after its penalty shootout loss to Iraq in the semifinals, India would look to continue its recent domination against Lebanon when it faces off in the third-place match of Kings Cup here on Sunday.
India was just 10 minutes away from recording its maiden win over higher-ranked Iraq but the West Asian country equalised (2-2) though a debatable penalty and then went on to win the semifinal match 5-4 on shootout.
Head coach Igor Stimac had lashed out at the referee for “robbing” India of a victory. Captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was also critical of the 80th-minute penalty awarded to Iraq after its striker Ghadhban was squeezed by two Indian defenders inside the box during a high-ball tussle.
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India will, however, gain a lot of confidence from the feisty fight against 70th ranked Iraq and the world number 99 Stimac’s side will hope to sign off the tournament with a win and end at third place.
India and Lebanon has played against each other three times this year and Stimac’s side has won twice -- though one was via penalty shootout in the SAFF Cup semifinal.
In the Intercontinental Cup in June, India had beaten Lebanon 2-0 in the final after playing out a 0-0 draw in the league stage.
It will, however, not be an easy outing for India against Lebanon, which lost to host Thailand 1-2 in the other semifinal on Thursday, but Stimac’s boys will fancy their chances considering their recent success.
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