India’s first-ever international futsal match ended with a 0-3 loss against hosts Bahrain, on Saturday, August 12, 2023, at the Khalifa Sports Hall, in Isa Town, Bahrain.
India, playing international Futsal for the first time, played with grit and determination that spoke a lot about their preparations prior to the tour of Bahrain.
The hosts, on the other hand, played with guile and looked to break the Indian defence down, but the anchors defended resolutely.
Bahrain managed to take the lead minutes before the changeover, in a rather uncharacteristic manner for a futsal game. Jassam Saleh Hasan nodded in a corner, to put the hosts in the lead.
The second half started with Bahrain again calling the shots. The hosts enjoyed long bouts of possession, as they rotated the ball around the court. However, India stuck doggedly to the task and did not let their opponents extend the lead.
As the half wore on, India started to grow into the game slowly, Nikhil Mali and Abhay Gurung constantly rotating around the court to create space.
Bahrain, however, pounced on the counter and doubled their lead through Ali Saleh Frih Alsaleh, who tapped in a low cross from the left.
The Reds added a third, when captain Mohamed Radhi made a lung-bursting run on the transition and poked it in.
India had a brilliant opportunity to pull one back when Augustine D’Mello intercepted a Bahrain pass on the left, entered the box, and cut it back for Shamshad Ali. The latter’s shot, though blocked, fell to David Laltlansanga, who twisted his way into the D, but ran into a barrage of Bahrain legs.
David made another mazy run, looking to get into a dangerous area, but ran out of space and had to recycle the ball, which eventually went out of play. The stipulated 40 minutes of the game soon ran out, as India tasted defeat on their international futsal debut. It was, however, a valuable lesson for the boys, who are preparing for the AFC Futsal Asian Cup Qualifiers, later this year.