The Indian football team narrowly went down 1-0 to Lebanon in a tightly fought third-place playoff clash at the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Sunday.

The Blue Tigers had an excellent record against Lebanon in recent encounters, but they failed to maintain that record as Kassem El Zein’s wonder strike in the second half made the difference on the day.

Indian head coach Igor Stimac made a couple of changes as winger Lallianzuala Chhangte returned to the playing XI after recovering from illness, while Asish Rai replaced Nikhil Poojary in the right-back position.

Stimac’s men started the game on a brighter note, just as they did the other day against Iraq. The first real opportunity came for India when Naorem Mahesh Singh found Manvir Singh with a well-measured cross, but the latter's headed attempt went over the bar. Both teams assessed each other in the following openings.

In the 26th minute, Chhangte was played through on goal, but his shot from the penalty box got deflected away. India created a couple of opportunities, but the opposition looked quite solid in defence, whereas Lebanon lacked quality in offence, and the first half finished goalless.

Stimac brought in Poojary and Brandon Fernandes to replace Ashish Rai and Anirudh Thapa at the start of the second half to create more openings.

Lebanon got their first real opportunity early in the second half as they launched a swift counter-attack, and Nader Matar unleashed a low shot towards the goal, but it could hardly escape Sandhu's safe hands. The Cedars gradually tried to gain control of the game, whereas India failed to capitalize on their first-half performance.

The Indian head coach made a couple of more attacking changes, but it was Lebanon who created most of the chances in the second half.

In the 69th minute, Fernandes managed to release a perfect pass under intense pressure for Rahul KP, whose attempted through pass was intercepted well by the Lebanon goalkeeper.

Moments later, Lebanon broke the deadlock from the corner kick. Karim Darwich delivered the in-swinging corner, and the initial on-target attempt was superbly saved by Gurpreet, but Kassem Al Zein won the second ball and scored with an acrobatic backvolley.

The Blue Tigers hurried their way for the equalizer, but the Lebanon defence stood firm in the final minutes. At the stroke of the 90th minute, Brandon stepped up to take the free kick from the right, but his shot was quickly cleared away by the defence.

India piled more pressure on in the seven minutes of allocated stoppage time but couldn't find the back of the net as they ended their campaign in the King’s Cup with another defeat.