Asian Cup: India denied first knockout stage appearance | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 15.01.2019
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Asian Cup: India denied first knockout stage appearance

A late Bahrain penalty denied India a first-ever spot in the last-16, with coach Stephen Constantine stepping down after his team failed to make it out of Group A. Elsewhere, hosts UAE drew with Thailand.

India 0-1 Bahrain
(Rashid 90+1, pen.)

Stephen Constantine claimed he'd done "all he was asked and more" after he resigned following India's agonizing exit at the hands of Bahrain. With the clock ticking down, his side needing only a draw to progress to the last-16 for the first time in the nation's history, disaster struck as Pronay Halder conceded a penalty to allow Bahrain to claim a last-gasp victory which sent them through at India's expense. 

While India will be kicking themselves, Bahrain deserved victory after attacking relentlessly for much of the game. India had been hampered by the early loss of central defender Anas Edathodika to injury. From that point, they never looked comfortable taking the game to their opponents. 

The point means Bahrain go through to the knockout stage as the third-place team in Group A. The top two nations from each of the six groups earn a place in the next round, along with the four best third-placed teams. Bahrain's four-point haul from their three Group A matches means they cannot be surpassed by more than two of the other third-placed teams regardless of the results. 

UAE 1-1 Thailand
(Mabkhout 7' - Puangchan 41')

Tournanent hosts UAE sailed through to the last-16 as Group A winners courtesy of a point against Thailand, who also secured safe passage to the knockout phase with this result.

UAE took an early lead through a close-range Ali Mabkhout header. The chance looked as if it had gone begging after teammate Ismail Al Hammadi's effort struck the woodwork, but Makhbout reacted quickest to give his side the advantage. 

Thailand hit back late in the first half after Chanathip Songrasin's dangerous cross caused confusion in the UAE penalty area. It was Puangchan that reached it first to draw the Thais level. The draw means Thailand reach the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 1972. 

Despite topping the group, UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni felt his side should have given a better account of themselves. 

"I was expecting better," said the Italian. "I know the fans are not happy with our performance and we aspire to do well in the coming stage, taking advantage of playing at home. Our team has solutions and we’ll use those in the coming matches."

em/pfd (dpa/AFP)

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