The Kings Cup journey for the Indian national men's football team ended in the semifinal stage after they were defeated by Iraq at the 700th Anniversary Stadium on Thursday.
The men in blue matched a high-flying Iraqi side in normal time with the game ending 2-2. However, come the penalty shootout, India were knocked out after falling 5-4 to Iraq.
The match will go down a tale of defensive errors as India's defence failed at crucial instances, while Iraq' goalkeeper had a moment to forget himself.
The game was kicked off by Iraq who went on to dominate possession and started putting crosses in the box. In return, India managed to absorb the pressure effectively and keep the Iraq attack at bay.
As Iraq continued to enjoy possession, they created the more meaningful chances of the two sides. A cutback pass from the right wing inside the box was cleared by the Indian defence to maintain parity.
Five minutes later, India escaped a major scare as Ashique Kuruniyan gave the ball away in a dangerous position, but striker Al-Hamadi could not capitalize on the mistake.
As Iraq continued to dominate the game, India opened the scoring through Naorem Mahesh Singh as midfielder Sahal Samad found a brilliant through ball in the 16th minute.
In reply, Iraq found the equalizer from a penalty after Sandesh Jhingan was yellow carded for handling the ball inside the box with Al-Hamadi restoring parity from 12 yards out. The scoreline was 1-1 at the end of the first half.
At the start of the second half, India took the lead again within six minutes of play as Manvir's tame shot was spilled by the Iraq goalkeeper who allowed the ball to roll into the back of the net.
India managed to keep Iraq's at bay, but they finally broke through India's resolute defence in the final 10 minutes of the game. Another penalty and another goal for Iraq. Forward Aymen scored from the sport to make it 2-2.
At the end of the 90 minutes, the game was level on 2-2.
The clash went to a penalty shootout, where Iraq converted all of their spot kicks while India managed to score four. Brandon Fernandes struck the post in the first penalty and Gurpreet couldn't keep out to bring India back into the game.