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Huanglong, sep20: India suffered a 1-5 defeat to China in their opening group match of the 19th Asian Games, which took place at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou on September 19. Rahul KP was successful in scoring the only goal for India and this goal came in the injury time of the first half. At the beginning of the game, China continuously targeted India’s right flank, with Tao Qianlong effortlessly dominating the field. In the 13th minute, Dai Weijun played a brilliant ball to Tan Long, who took a shot from close range. Gurmeet Singh made an impressive reflex save, but the linesman had already raised the offside flag.
Despite this early pressure, India began to take control of the match, largely thanks to the efforts of Sunil Chhetri, who dropped back to collect the ball and maintain possession. India’s first goal attempt came a minute later when Sumit Rathi’s run found space on China’s left flank. Chhetri took advantage of the opportunity and fired from a distance of 35 yards, but missed the target. However, China took advantage of the opportunity to score a goal after a few minutes. Dai Weijun’s header caught out Gao Tianyi, who gave the hosts the lead with a volley from inside the six-yard box. India was forced to press forward, and this proved costly in the 24th minute when a misplaced pass from the Indian defense gave Tan Long a chance to head toward the goal. Gurmeet Singh fouled the attacker and conceded the penalty, but then made amends by saving Weijun’s penalty kick.
The turning point for India came in the injury time of the first half. Abdul Anjukandan played a long ball over the top to release Rahul on the right flank. Rahul made a remarkable run, cut inside, and fired a precise shot on goal, beating the defender, goalkeeper, and narrow-angle to stun the stadium and bring India back into the game. However, China took the lead early in the second half when Dai Weijun scored from long range, much to the delight of the home crowd.
From that point on, China took control of the game, denying an exhausted India team possession and forcing them to defend for long periods. In the 72nd minute, Wang Haijian took a long-range shot, which deviated towards the Indian goal. Gurmeet Singh adjusted well to make the initial save, but unfortunately, the ball went straight to Tao Qianlong, who tapped it in. Three minutes later Tao Qianlong scored another goal with a knee-volley, effectively sealing China’s victory. H. Fang scored the fifth goal in injury time, adding to India’s disappointment in a game where they had expected a better result.