India suffer fourth straight defeat in World Cup qualifiers
Ashgabat: Indian football team's shameful performance continued as they slumped to their fourth straight defeat losing 1-2 to Turkmenistan in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, here on Thursday.
India thus remained at the bottom of the Group D points table and now have virtually no chance to even qualify for the Asian Cup by finishing third.
For the winners, Guvanch Abylov scored the first goal in the 8th minute while Arslanmynat Amanov scored the winner at the stroke of an hour (60th minute). For India Jeje Lalpeklhua had equalised in the 28th minute.
With team's training severely hampered due to Indian Super League (ISL) preparations, the national team players did not have any motivation as they were practically out after losing the first three matches.
This defeat also puts national coach Stephen Constantine's future in doubt as the Indian team under him as gone from bad to worse in the last year or so.
India had the first chance of the game as Francis Fernandes lined up a shot only to see it go inches wide of the post. Turkmenistan managed to take the lead against the run of play just two minutes later as Abylov hit on the counter-attack.
However, India equalised in the 28th minute. The Turkmenistan keeper Mammet Orazmuhammedow parried a shot but Jeje who was lurking in the box kept a nice overhead lob to make it 1-1. The hosts went ahead again in the 60th minute as Amanov's smart finish made it 2-1.
Jeje once again tried to restore parity but his powerful header was directed straight at the keeper who collected it with ease.
India had a golden opportunity to equalize late on in the 86th minute as profligate Robin Singh with only goalkeeper to beat failed to do so.
That proved to be the last chance for the Indian team, who now would like to atleast draw if not beat the lowly placed Guam and salvage some of their pride which has been badly dented.