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Asian Cup: UAE, Bahrain, Thailand reach last 16; India out amid late drama (video)

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The hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain all advanced from Group A to reach the last 16 of the 2019 Asian Cup, while India crashed out after late drama in their group stage finale.

[ MORE: 2019 Asian Cup news ]

UAE drew 1-1 with Thailand to win the group, while Bahrain beat India 1-0 thanks to a stoppage time penalty kick to seal third spot and a place in the last 16.

Thailand secured second place by virtue of their head-to-head record over Bahrain, and the latter advanced to the knockout rounds as they are guaranteed to be one of the top four third-place teams.


India 0-1 Bahrain

India were devastated to be the first team knocked out of the tournament, as skipper Pronay Halder conceded a 91st minute penalty which Jamal Rashed converted to send Bahrain through. India hadn’t reached the knockout round of the Asian Cup since 1964, and their wait goes on.

Had the game finished 0-0 India were going through automatically and Bahrain would have finished bottom of the group. But instead the opposite happened as India finished fourth and Bahrain took third spot and a place in the last 16.


UAE 1-1 Thailand

UAE took the lead through Ali Mabkhout, but Thailand hit back before half time through Thitipan Puangchan to set up a nervy second half. Thailand went close to grabbing the win, but the tournament hosts secured the draw to finish top of the group as they remain unbeaten after a win and two draws in Group A.

As for Thailand, this marked the first time they’ve reached the knockout rounds in 40 years.

U-17 WC roundup: U.S. cruises in opener, Paraguay tops Mali

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An exciting first day at the U-17 World Cup saw lots of good play, including the United States, who comfortably handled tournament hosts India.

Meanwhile, fellow Group A side Ghana picked up a win as well to give the Black Stars three points.

In Group B, Paraguay has taken early command of the group thanks to a second-half penalty kick which gave the South American side a win over Mali.

Here’s a look at the action from around the opening day at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.


Group A

Colombia 0-1 Ghana

Sadiq Ibrahim gave the young Black Stars the lead on 39 minutes, but it was certainly a back-and-forth match in the opener. Each goalkeeper was tested on several occasions, with both sides making three saves in the match.

India 0-3 USMNT U-17s — (Match report)

Josh Sargent has been highly-billed amongst Americans, and he delivered on Friday. The soon-to-be Werder Bremen attacker gave the U.S. the lead on half an hour when he was brought down inside the penalty area and subsequently finished his spot-kick. John Hackworth’s side dominated the game’s chances, limiting the hosts to just one shot on target through the first half. Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton also got in on the scoring for the U.S., giving the Baby Yanks a massive lift to start the tournament.


Group B

New Zealand 1-1 Turkey

Max Mata had himself an up-and-down day for the All Whites, but his second-half goal will be his side’s primary care as New Zealand managed a draw against Turkey. The Turks went ahead when Ahmed Kutucu headed home a corner kick in the 18th minute, however, Mata leveled the match 13 minutes into the second stanza. The Onehunga Sports midfielder picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time, though, leaving New Zealand with 10 men to finish the match.

Paraguay 3-2 Mali

It was back and forth for much of the first half, but a penalty kick after halftime helped give Paraguay all three points in their opening match. Alan Rodriguez capitalized from the penalty spot in the 55th minute to break the 2-2 deadlock and gave La Albirroja the lead for good.

Zambrotta will try to convince Ibrahimovic to finish career in India

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Indian Super League club Delhi Dynamos has a big name manager who wants to bring an even bigger name to Delhi.

Thirty-nine year old Gianluca Zambrotta moved to India after two seasons running Swiss club Chiasso.

He has Delhi off to a 1-1 start this year, leading a team whose most recognizable player in Florent Malouda. That would change if Zambrotta convinces his former Juventus and AC Milan teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic to give India a try.

[ MORE: Xhaka compares Premier League, Bundesliga ]

While few expect Zlatan to go one-and-done with Manchester United, the Big Swede has talked about finishing his career outside Europe. And if the money is there in India, maybe Zambrotta can help.

From IndianExpress.com:

Zambrotta in an exclusive interview to Indian Express said ‘Ibra’ will not mind playing in India after his retirement from European football.

“Given his fan following in India, I think Zlatan would want to come and end his career here. On my end, I will definitely try and convince him to play for Delhi Dynamos,” Zambrotta said.

It all seems kinda crazy, but we’re sure reading “David Beckham is going to take his career to the United States” once seemed just as nuts. Nothing impending, but perhaps bookmark this one.

VIDEO: Ronaldinho’s amazing tricks, goals in Indian Futsal league

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Ronaldinho still has some serious moves.

We all remember his era of dominance for Barcelona about 10 years ago but the Brazilian playmaker and former World Player of the Year still has it, as he’s shown for Goa in the newly formed Premier Futsal league.

[ MORE: Kante key for new-look Chelsea

That’s right, Ronaldinho, now 36, has ended up in India as a supreme showman for Goa and he scored five times in a win over Bengaluru with each goal as ridiculous as the last.

We’ve all seen grainy videos of Ronaldinho, Neymar and other Brazilian superstars dominating Futsal games as youngsters and this is no different.

The league runs from July 15-24 and has six teams across India in its inaugural year.

Spending the last five years since he left AC Milan playing for various teams in Mexico and Brazil, Ronaldinho’s short stint in India will live long in the memory.

[ MORE: Pogba to United inches closer

He has already left Goa and has been replaced by compatriot Cafu as their one allotted marquee player. Other star names in the league include Paul Scholes who is playing for Bengaluru, while Michel Salgado is playing for Kochi, Hernan Crespo is at Kolkata and Ryan Giggs is in Mumbai.

They were all tremendous players in their day but none seem as built for Futsal as Ronaldinho is…

Take a look at the video below to see Ronaldinho at his very best. Magic.

Indian player dies after goal celebration

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Sad news in the football world today, as a young Indian player has died after landing awkwardly during a goal celebration.

Peter Biaksangzuala passed away after damaging his spinal cord while attempting to do a front-flip after scoring a goal for his club, Bethlehem Vengthlang FC. He was 23 years old.

Bethlehem Vengthlang FC was taking on Chanmari West FC, when Biaksangzuala scored his first league goal in the 62nd minute. After landing awkwardly during his celebration, he was taken to a local hospital. Five days later, he passed away.

The Mizoram Premier League released a statement via their official Facebook page.

Bethlehem Vengthlang FC midfielder Peter Biaksangzuala lost his fight for survival after he suffered a fatal injury while celebrating his goal. It has been a sad day for Mizoram football and the demise of the footballer shook his teammates, footballers and fans alike all over Mizoram. Peter’s club Bethlehem Vengthlang FC will retire his jersey no. 21.”

You can read the full statement here.

A sad day in the sporting world as we are reminded that there are bigger things in life than football.