eTigers held by Uzbekistan in opening AFC eAsian Cup 2023 tie
01 Feb 2024

AIFF Media Team

NEW DELHI: The Indian eFootball National Team settled for two points on the opening day of the AFC eAsian Cup 2023 as they were held 1-1 by Uzbekistan in both legs of their Group B tie on Thursday, February 1, 2023, at the Virtuocity in Doha, Qatar.

The first-ever AFC eAsian Cup is being played on Konami’s eFootball 2024 on PS5 consoles. 20 participating teams have been divided into four groups of three teams and two groups of four. Each team comprises two main players and one substitute. The matches last 12 minutes and are played in a 2v2 format.

In the group stage, each team plays two matches against every other team in its group. Like the ongoing AFC Asian Cup, the top two teams from each group, alongside the four best third-place finishers, will qualify for the knockout stage. Syria, who lost 0-2 and 0-1 to Uzbekistan in their opening tie, are the third and final team in Group B.

India, represented by Hemanth Krishna Kommu, Ibrahim Gulrez and Charanjot Singh, took on Akmal Abduvaliyev, Salokhiddin Esanov and Rashid Khakimov of Uzbekistan to open their AFC eAsian Cup 2023 campaign.

Lining up with the pairing of Ibrahim and Hemanth in the first leg, India started off brightly, opening the scoring in the 17th minute as Lalengmawia Ralte headed in Sahal Abdul Samad's corner. The eTigers dominated the rest of the proceedings but couldn't find the elusive second goal. Uzbekistan made them pay as they equalised in the final stages of the game through Azizbek Turgunboev in the 92nd minute.

India made a substitution ahead of the second leg, with Charanjot replacing Hemanth. But that didn't change the positive attacking intent of the eTigers as they once again took the lead in the first half after a brilliant finish from Manvir Singh in the 34th minute. However, Uzbekistan found their equaliser not long into the second half as Igor Sergeyev capitalised on a defensive mishap from the Indians.

That meant Uzbekistan finished Day 1 on top of Group B with eight points, followed by India with two and Syria with none. The eTigers will face Syria at 16:30 IST on Friday, February 2 in their last Group B tie. The round of 16 and quarter-finals will be held on February 4, followed by the semi-finals and final on February 5.

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