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Asian Cup Diaries - Everybody wants Chhetri, an Iraqi dream come true

Yusuf before Iraq's game against Vietnam outside the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Yusuf before Iraq's game against Vietnam outside the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
 

The Asian Cup is considered the World Cup for Asian nations, and one can see a glimpse of that in the playing styles on display. The West Asian nations (Saudi Arabia, Iran) are tough, rugged and play a fairly physical game, while those from further east (China, South Korea) are quick, technical and extremely clever at controlling the tempo in games. Then there are teams like India, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Turkmenistan, who are either all on debut or returning to this tournament after a...

Ratings: Thapa shines, Anas 3/10 as defensive lapses cost India

Defensive lapses cost India three points vs the UAE.

India failed to take their chances as UAE handed them a 2-0 defeat on Thursday to keep Group A of the Asian Cup wide open. The scoreline wasn't entirely reflective of the cagey affair at the Zayed Sports City Stadium that now puts the hosts in the driving seat for a spot in the next round.

Khaflan Mubarak's first-half goal was enough for UAE to go into the break with a lead and they carried that momentum into the second half with an assured performance, killing any hope of a comeback from India...

Ashique Kuruniyan - From Malappuram to Asian Cup spotlight

 

Ashique Kuruniyan is tense. It is the night before India's Asian Cup opener against Thailand. He knows he is going to be in the playing eleven and he can't sleep. In a few hours, he will partner Sunil Chhetri and lead India's attack for their biggest game in eight years.

Between night and dawn, Ashique gets up six times -- and he is fully awake two hours before he normally gets up. His mind is buzzing and he reminds himself to take in the advice and instructions he has been given. Don't be...