India suffered a major setback in their bid to reach the next round of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, as they lost to Guam at Guam National Football Stadium on Tuesday.
With goals apiece from Guam's Brandon McDonald and James Nicklaw in the 35th and 64th minutes of the game, Guam took a 2-0 lead. Sunil Chhetri scored a consolation goal for India in the 94th minute of the game, but they lost 2-1.
This strike from Sunil Chhetri was a major landmark in his career, as it was his 50th goal of his international career.
Guam were all over Indian defence, who could not contain the home side, as Guam players looked hungry to register their second victory. They looked sharp in their approach and the Indian team once again showed their weakness playing away from home.
But it was not only the Indian defense who were to be blamed, as India's offense too looked disappointing when they got some chances to score. While Chhetri salvaged some pride with a late goal, the game was already in Guam's pockets.
India, after their professional display against Oman, which they lost 2-1 at home, were favourites to defeat Guam ranked 174 in the FIFA rankings compared to India's 141, but the Blue Tigers disappointed Indian football fans with their performance.
For Guam fans, this victory should not come as a huge surprise as they had defeated Turkmenistan in their last qualifiers game with the score reading 1-0. This victory should give them the confidence to take other teams in the competition.
Guam's coach Gary White deserves a special mention here for he has been working hard to improve the standard of Guam football.
India will next play Asian giants Iran on 8 September. They have to improve by leaps and bounds if they are to even stage a fight against Iran.