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Asian Games Football: China Thrash Under-Prepared And Jaded India 1-5

A severely-fatigued and under-prepared Indian team got a rude reality check with hosts China out-muscling them 1-5 in an opening group league encounter of the Asian Games football competition in Hangzhou on Tuesday. Giao Tianyi (17th min), Dai Weijun (51st min), Tao Qianglong (72nd and 75th minute) and Hao Fang (90 2) scored for the hosts, while Rahul KP's (45 1 minute) equaliser from an acute angle was possibly the best strike of the match. It was heartening to see a third-string team holding the title contenders on an even keel during the first 45 minutes, which saw Indian custodian Gurmeet Singh Chahal valiantly save a spot-kick taken by rival captain Zhu Chenjie.

India now need to beat Bangladesh and Myanmar in their remaining two games to qualify for the second round. Myanmar beat Bangladesh 4-2 in another game in this group.

Having reached the Games Village late on Monday evening, the third-string Indian team, with not even four specialist defenders in their ranks, didn't have enough co-ordination amongst themselves. They looked jet-lagged, not rested enough and there was no way that there could have been a miracle.

The gulf in class and quality was evident and most of the Chinese attacks happened from India's wide left (China's right flank) side, which was being manned by Sumit Rathi. It became a free-ride for the Chinese attackers.

Also, the humidity and lack of training time had its effect as the Indians didn't have the legs to last beyond the first hour. And, once the second goal was scored due to Sandesh Jhingan's poor anticipation, the floodgates opened.

Jhingan was also responsible for another goal when he had a brain fade and wanted to dribble his team past the danger in his own penalty box and committed