King's Cup 2019: Curacao beats India 3-1 - As it happened

Follow the LIVE scores and updates of the King's Cup opening match between Indian national football team and Curacao national football team in Buriram.

India returns to the iconic King's Cup after a gap of 38 years.   -  AIFF Media

Good afternoon and welcome to the LIVE blog of the King's Cup opening match between Indian national football team and Curacao national football team in Buriram.


That's all the action we have from our end. Thanks for tuning in and have a great day.

India will next be in action on June 8 against the loser of the Thailand-Vietnam game, which is scheduled to happen later today.

Igor Stimac's reign as India coach as begun on a losing note, but he will take heart from the fact that his side played a positive brand of attacking football. He named a very different line up, choosing to leave out the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Jackichand Singh through the game, but handed six debuts in the process. Full report here - India falls prey to Curacao in Igor Stimac's first test

90+4' Referee Chaireag Ngam-Som blows the whistle and that brings us to the end of the tie. It's full time in Buriram and Curacao have cruised to a 3-1 triumph over India.

90+2' What an attempt from Jhingan! Chhetri delivers a fine corner into the box and Jhingan throws himself at hit. He makes good contact with his head, but can't beat the pile of defenders ahead of him.

90+1' Oh what a chance! Chhetri plays Soosai into the box, but the latter drags the ball a little too wide and his cross is cleared for a corner.

90' Substitute Gino Van Kessel tests Gupreet with a powerful drive, but the Indian custodian is up to the task.  We will have four minutes of added time.

89' Two bookings in as many minutes. Bonevacia goes into the book for a reckless foul on Bose, while Rahul Bheke also enters the ref's book.

86' Udanta finds Chhertri in the box with a pinpoint cross, but the Indian skipper's header loops just past the post. He looks up to the skies in agony with folded palms, visibly frustrated. 

85' Raynier with a great chance! He's released through on goal on the left and he only had one defender to beat, but he cuts back in the hope of squaring it and ends up losing the ball.

81' POST! Chhetri nearly bags his second goal of the night as he nods Kotal's lob onto the post.

80' Promising move from the Indians. Soosairaj and Bose combine to find Sahal on the edge of the box. Sahal delivers a very clever pass to Amarjit in the box, but the youngster can't get a strong shot off.

75' Ouch, that's got to hurt. Bose lunges into a tackle, wins the ball, but catches Hooi on the shin. The ref issues no card and the Curacao attacker is clearly unhappy.

71' So we're down to the last 20-odd minutes of this tie. The winner of this game will play the final on June 8 against the winner of the Thailand-Vietnam game, while the losers will play a third-place playoff on the same day.

70' Lovely play from Udanta on the right. He dodges his way past Curacao skipper Cuco Martina and prepares to cross, but the experienced Martina gets his foot in just in time to deny him.

67' Third change for India - Brandon Fernandes  is replaced by Soosairaj Michael. The Tamil Nadu midfielder, who recently signed for ISL club ATK for a staggering amount, also makes his senior debut debut.

66' The heavens have opened up and its pouring in Buriram.

64' Strong save from Gurpreet. Hooi dances his way past three defenders and unleashes a stinging right-footer, but the Indian 'keeper does well to parry it away.

62' Haha, quite a battle this. 18-year-old Amarjit Singh has been given the task of marking the dangerous Bacuna, and credit to him, the youngster has done pretty well so far!

59' The Indians looked much better in the second half and have combined really well, especially Sahal and Udanta, to apply constant pressure on the Curacao defence. However, despite a two-goal lead, Curacao haven't sat back and have continued to throw men ahead.

56' CHANCE! Sahal lobs to Udanta on the right and he weaves past his man to tee it for Chhetri, but the Indian skipper has no room to shoot.

53' Udanta chases one of Gurpreet's trademark punts, but can't beat the opposition 'keeper. Good attacking intensity from the Indians.

50' India wins its first corner of the game, but it does not amount to anything.

In other news, the Indian cricket team begins its ICC World Cup 2019 campaign against South Africa today. Follow the IND vs SA game LIVE

49' Raynier makes an immediate impact as he injects much much-needed pace to this Indian attack. He plays it to Chhetri, who finds Sahal in the centre. Sahal releases Udanta down the right and the Bengaluru FC winger delivers a low cross, but finds no takers.

46' Stimac has made two changes - Raynier Fernandes has come on for Pronay Halder, while Amarjit Singh Kiyam replaces Chhangte. Amarjit makes his senior team debut, and Stimac has now given FOUR debuts in his debut game as manager.

The players are back on the pitch and we're moments from second half action.

-- Curacao have had four shots on target and have scored three goals off them, while the Indians have had a total of three shots, with two on target. Interestingly though, the Indians have had more ball possession - 53%.

-- Quite a few talking points for us after the first half, especially concerning the line up. Sahal was brought in place of Anirudh Thapa, and while he's had moments of brilliance, he simply not able to create an impact as Thapa would.

Chhangte on the left has also struggled to fend off the burly defenders, and perhaps Soosairaj's introduction could change that. What do you'll think?

Have your say here:

 

45+2' A sublime long ball sees Hooi race down the left flank with just Gurpreet to beat, but Jhingan darts back to his box and thwarts away the danger. And that brings is to the end of the first half.

45' The fourth official has announced that there will be two minutes of added time.

44' Curacao win a free-kick in the attacking third, and a substitution follows. Nepomuceno takes the deadball, but it takes a deflection off the wall and heads out for a corner.

41' I stand corrected! Some impressive passing sees India nearly peg one back. Chhetri finds Sahal in the centre and he plays a clever pass to Udanta on the right. The mercurial winger gets a shot off, but cannot get it past the 'keeper. The Indians need a lot more of this!

40' We're down to the last five minutes of the opening half. Curacao have dominated the proceedings so far and have piled the attacks from the right flank. India, though, have lacked pace upfront and have struggled to create chances.

35' The 27-year-old in fact plays for Championship club Cardiff City, and has also played for Aston Villa and Reading.

34' Bacuna makes it 3-1 to Curacao! A cheeky backheel finds him on the edge of the box and he pummels it past Gurpreet to restore Curacao's two-goal advantage. There's no one marking him and he scores with ease. It appears so easy that the Curacao players don't even celebrate the goal!

31' GOAAAAAAAAAAAL! Sunil Chhetri scores his 68th goal for India to reduce the deficit to one goal. It wasn't the best of penalties, as it took a touch off the 'keeper before going into the goal, but Chhetri will take it. A much-needed boost going into the last quarter of the first half.

30' PENALTY TO INDIA! A high boot on Sahal in the box wins India a penalty. Chhetri to take it.

27' Fine strike this from Bonevacia. He fires a low drive from outside the box, but just can't find the goal. Bonevacia, who played for Western Sydeny Wanders in A-League, is among the most senior players in this Curacao team. The 27-year-old now plays for Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia.

24' Lovely link up play from Curacao. Their four attackers, led by Hooi invade the attacking third and Nepomuceno has a go at the goal from the right, but it swerves off target.

23' Udanta, who's struggled to create an impact so far, delivers a teasing cross into the box but can't find a teammate. Chhangte then has a chance to cross from the left, but he miscontrols the ball and it's a Curacao throw-in.

18' It's 2-0! The Indian defence has been split apart as Elson Hooi scores Curacao's second goal in as many minutes. The winger is played through on goal and he races past Jhingan, beats a diving Gurpreet, and slots it home. Double trouble for India now.

16' GOAAAAAL! Bonevacia scores to put Curacao on top. Pronay makes a lousy tackle on the edge of the box and fails to win the ball. The ball is then passed to Nepomuceno, who's measured cross is drilled into the back of the net by Bonevacia off a side-footed strike. Gurpreet simply had no chance there.

11' Oooooh, was that a penalty? Hooi darts into the box between Udanta and Kotal and the latter appears to trip him inside the box, but the referee sees no foul. Bonevacia lets one rip from distance soon after, but fails to trouble Gurpreet.

10' Curacao wins the first corner of the match, but nothing comes off it. Gurpreet races off his line to punch it away and the Indian defence now has time to regroup.

8' First chance of the match. Brandon plays a terrific lob down the the centre towards a goalbound Sahal. The Kerala Blasters midfielder races past his marker and fires a first-time volley on the bounce, but fails to find the target.

5' It's been a cagey opening five minutes with neither goalkeeper being troubled. Curacao has seen more of the ball, but the Indians have done well to offer them little room.

4' Fine work from Chhange on the left. He does really well to track back and prevent Arias from crossing.

3' The Chang Stadium is home to local side Buriram United which plays in the Thai Premier League. The fantastic arena was built eight years ago and on this Wednesday afternoon, it's largely empty sparring the handful of local fans and the travelling Indian fans.

1' KICK OFF!

1:58 pm: The national anthems have been played, the captains have exchanged pleasantries and we're less than two minutes away from kick-off!

1:55 pm: The players are on the pitch and it's a lovely sunny afternoon at Buriram. The weather is around 30 degrees, "homely" conditions for the Indians.

1:50 pm: Can Stimac lead India to a win on debut? Have your say here:
 

1:45 pm: So today's clash will be the Indian men's team's first competitive game since its Asian Cup ouster. After an inspiring 4-1 win over Thailand in the opening game, the side slipped to losses against host UAE and Bahrain and failed to make it to the knockouts.

With a new coach at the helm now and a clean slate to begin with, it remains to be seen if the Indians can claim a victory over their high-ranked opponents.

1:40 pm: Captain, Leader, Legend Sunil Chhetri will hit ANOTHER milestone today. After becoming the second highest active goalscorer earlier in the year, he now stands to become India's mostt-capped player.

1:35 pm: The Indian team has a new 'professor' in its ranks. Here's more on the man himself - Luka Radman

1:30 pm: "I expect an open competition in our first match against India. We will use this game to try out a number of game elements," said Curacao's head coach Remko Bicentini. Sounds a tad cryptic, but here's more on that.

1:25 pm: Curacao have a couple of well-known players in captain Martina and Bacuna, both of who have played in the England.

Martina was last seen alongside Robin Van Perise at Feyenoord, after he was loaned to the Dutch side by Everton. The 29-year-old has also represented Southampton and Stoke City.

Bacuna, on the other hand, plays as a right back for Cardiff City. The 27-year-old has also played for Aston Villa and Reading.

1:15 pm: Quite an interesting line up here. Stimac has lined up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sunil Chhetri playing as the lone striker.

The Croat handed debuts to Rahul Bheke, Sahal Abdul Samad and Brandon Fernandes. However, he has also chosen to bench Anirudh Thapa, Jackichand Singh and Soosairaj.

India XI - Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Subhasish Bose, Sandesh Jhingan, Rahul Bheke, Pritam Kotal, Pronay Halder, Sahal Abdul Samad, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Brandon Fernandes, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri. 

Curacao XI - Eloy Room, Cuco Martina, Darryl Lachman, Jurich Carolina, Michael Maria, Rolieny Bonevacia, Leandro Bacuna, Gebaro Nepomuceno, Jurien Gaari, Elson Hooi, Jafar Arias.

1:10 pm: Right then, welcome to our live blogs ladies and gents. Igor Stimac will look to secure a win on debut as his Indian side takes on Curacao in less than 50 minutes from now. What are your predictions?

PREVEIW

It's the dawn of a new era in Indian football as former Croatian national football team manager Igor Stimac takes charge of the Indian men's team for the first time against Curacao in the King's Cup.

With the Indian team coming from an off-season, Stimac is expecting a tough campaign.

“The weather conditions will be difficult. This being the off-season, the situation is tough. But at the same time, it is the same for everyone. We're here to win, and do our best,” he stated on the team’s arrival in Buriram.

Sunil Chhetri is poised to become the most-capped player for the national team. He currently has 107 caps to his name, keeping him tied with former captain and striker Bhaichung Bhutia.

India’s clash against Curacao, which is ranked 82 in the latest FIFA World ranking, will mark India's return to the iconic King's Cup — one of Asia's oldest International tournaments — after a gap of 38 years.

“The boys are confident, and have understood that they can improve their game with hard work on a daily basis,” Stimac maintained.

“I appreciate the hard work put in by the players over the last 10 days in New Delhi. I expect them to implement their learnings from practice in the upcoming tournament,” he stated.

Central midfielder Pronoy Halder was all praise for coach Stimac: "The coach keeps saying to us that if we listen to him, and execute it on the field, we can go a long way. The most significant part stays that all the players have taken it in the right spirit.”

“We understand Curacao are a very strong team as most of their players at playing in premier divisions across Europe. That is providing us the extra motivation to prove a point. We will give our 100 percent,” Halder said.

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Subhasish Bose

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Raynier Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Michael Soosairaj

Forwards: Balwant Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh