Soccer: India loses 2-4 to Malaysia in controversial Merdeka Cup match

India lost 4-2 to hosts Malaysia on Friday in the opening match of the Merdeka Cup soccer competition. The Blue Tigers struggled with poor refereeing and a pitch full of holes. Moreover, two of his shots hit the crossbar.

Malaysia took the lead in the 7th minute with a goal from Dion Cools, and Naorem Mahesh Singh leveled the score for India in the 13th minute with a beautiful volley.

Malaysia were awarded a penalty for Nikhil Poojary’s silly challenge on Arif Amin inside India’s box, and Amin made a mistake in the 20th minute when he found the net from the spot.

To make matters worse for India, Faisal Halim increased the scoreline to 3-1 in Malaysia’s favor four minutes from half-time.

India captain Sunil Chhetri scored in the 52nd minute to reduce the gap to 2-3.

Five minutes later, Lalianzuala Chhangte’s equalizing goal was denied, sparking a huge controversy.

When Chhangte won the ball inside the box, his shot hit Ahmad’s body and crossed the goal line before Cools could clear, but the referee thought otherwise.

Indian coach Igor Stimac and the entire team seemed furious at this decision, and unsurprisingly, replays clearly showed that the ball had actually crossed the line.

Malaysia added salt to the hapless Indian’s wounds when Corbin Ong scored from close range in the 61st minute.

The Merdeka Cup, also known as the “Mini Asia Cup”, had just three teams (Tajikistan finished third) after conflict-torn Palestine withdrew from the competition at the last minute.

Malaysia will face Tajikistan in the final on October 17th.

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