UAE routs India 6-0, Mabkhout nets hat-trick

The gulf in the class and technical superiority was all too apparent, though India was without its talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri, recovering from COVID-19 infection.

Action from the India vs UAE friendly game on Monday.   -  AIFF

India suffered a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of United Arab Emirates -- its heaviest defeat against the Gulf side -- in the second international football friendly here on Monday.

Such was India's performance that Igor Stimac's side did not even get a single shot on target in one of the most forgettable encounters in recent times. Striker Ali Mabkhout scored a hat-trick with goals in the 12th, 32nd and 60th minutes while Khalil Ibrahim (64th), Fabio De Lima (71st) and Sebastian Lucas Tagliabue (84th) added the other three.

India gave a good account of itself in its first friendly match against fancied Oman on March 25 with an impressive 1-1 draw but against the UAE, the side was clueless about how to hold the ball, stitch the passes and create chances.

READ| India vs UAE Highlights: Mabkhout and Co thrash India 6-0

The gulf in the class and technical superiority was all too apparent, though India was without its talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri, who is recovering from COVID-19 infection.

Defensive mainstay Sandesh Jhingan was also rested as Stimac experimented with new players in his big 27-member squad.

The draw against Oman had given a lot of hope Indian, which is ranked 104, while UAE is placed 74th. However, it turned out to be a disappointing evening for the Blue Tigers.

It was also India's heaviest defeat against the UAE, obliterating the 0-5 loss in an international friendly in 2010 in Abu Dhabi. Stimac said just before the match that his players should be able to make quick decisions against much superior and technically far better opponents.

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However, his wards struggled to create an impact in the game as UAE seized control of the game and created chances almost at will. The Indians were unable to hold possession and were left to chase the ball for a large majority of the game.

UAE had 67 per cent possession as against India's 33 in the first half during which Mabkhout chipped one over Indian goalkeeper and captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and then scored from the spot after Adil Khan handled the ball inside the box.

The second half was no better for India, unlike against Oman when it fought back to equalise, as UAE laid bare the hapless Indian defence to pump in four more goals.

READ| Chhetri recovers from COVID-19, returns to training

India's only noteworthy move came just before half-time when Liston Colaco, who made his debut on Monday, found Manvir Singh with a superb through ball but the striker's shot was blocked by the onrushing UAE keeper.

The international friendly matches are being played as part of preparations for the joint qualification round of 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup to be played in June.