Former India international IM Vijayan felt India were unfortunate to lose 0-2 to UAE in their second Group A game in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup on Friday at the Zayed Sports City.
Vijayan is the national observer for football, appointed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and had flown to Abu Dhabi to watch India play in the continental cup. After a stunning 4-1 win against Thailand in the opener, India succumbed to goals from Khalfan Mubarak and Ali Mabkhout as UAE sealed full points at the final whistle.
"India played really well. We were unlucky to lose. The players created a lot of chances but missed them. Some of them were good chances, we struck the bar. Constantine set up the team well and the team played well. We were unlucky," Vijayan told Goal .
The Keralite is of the opinion that India played better than they did against Thailand and refused to blame the defence for the two goals conceded.
"India played better football today than they did against Thailand. Our defending was not bad, we did not concede the goals due to poor defending. Those were two unexpected goals against the run of play when we were attacking.
"Can't say Anas Edathodika was at fault for conceding the first goal. The two centre-backs were confused. We conceded it when we were attacking. The player got in behind when defenders were confused about who should tackle, cannot blame Anas alone for it.
Ashique Kuruniyan had a quiet game after an influential display in the first game but Vijayan felt he did what he could do against the highest-ranked side in India's group.
"Ashique's performance was decent. Remember that he was up against a very good team. Considering his age and experience, he played well."
The legendary striker is confident that India can qualify from the group, "We still have the chance to qualify. We can score goals against Bahrain. Thailand defeated Bahrain."