India’s Kings Cup 2023 Journey Ends in Heartbreak

Team India suffered a harsh exit from the invitational Kings Cup 2023 tournament in Thailand as Iraq edged out the Blue Tigers on penalties following a thrilling 2-2 draw in the regulation 90 minutes on Thursday.

Mahesh Singh’s Early Strike

India began the game on a positive note and went ahead through Mahesh Singh, who hit the net with a first-time effort after being played into the danger area by Abdul Sahal Samad, threading a brilliant ball following his cruising run.

Penalty Drama Unfolds

Sandesh Jhingan conceded the first of two penalties on the night as the referee pointed to the spot after the ball hit the Indian defender’s hands inside the box. Iraq’s Karim Ali made no mistake from the spot, beating Indian custodian Gurpreet Singh, who judged the right way but couldn’t keep the ball out.

Half-Time Deadlock

The teams headed into the halftime break all tied at 1-goal apiece.

India’s Second Lead

Back from the interval, India once again inched ahead thanks to a blunder by Iraqi goalie Hasan, who tipped the ball into the back of his net following an unconvincing attempt by Akash Mishra.

Another Penalty for Iraq

The Iraqis were relentless in their search for another equalizer and their work paid dividends in the 80th minute as India conceded yet another penalty through Jhingan. This time Ghadhban stepped forward and took the penalty confidently to restore parity.

Dramatic Red Card

There was one additional twist before the game could head into the penalty tiebreaks as Manchester United product Zidane Iqbal, who represents Iraq, was shown a straight red card, briefly reducing the Lions of Mesopotamia to ten men before the end of the game.

Penalty Shootout Decides the Fate

Ultimately, Iraq beat India 5-4 on penalties as the Lions of Mesopotamia managed to convert all five of their spot kicks, while India netted four of the five, with the only miss for the men in blue coming from Fernandes.


In a rollercoaster of a match, India’s Kings Cup 2023 journey came to a heart-wrenching end as Iraq emerged victorious in the penalty shootout. Despite moments of brilliance and drama, the Blue Tigers couldn’t secure the win in regulation time, ultimately bowing out of the tournament.

Match Statistics
Team Goals
India 2
Iraq 2

Tags: Kings Cup 2023, India vs Iraq, Penalty Shootout

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