On Sunday, September 10, 2023, Lebanon defeated India in the 700th Anniversary Stadium in Chiang Mai, Thailand, ending India's ambitions of retaining third place in the 49th King's Cup 2023. Kassem El Zein's goal in the 77th minute ended India's chances. Lebanon, who had failed to defeat India in their previous two encounters in Bhubaneswar and Bangalore, triumphed on their third attempt despite tremendous pressure from the Blue Tigers, particularly in the latter stages.
Things turned around in the 77th minute as the West Asian team took advantage of a corner kick, just as it appeared that India would soon crack through the Lebanon defence. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu of India was able to block the initial shot, but he was unable to make a follow-up when Kaseem Al Zein attempted a fantastic back-volley while in close range. It was a controversial goal, which many, including the Indian skipper Sandesh Jhingan, believed to be an off-side.
Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nikhil Raj worked well together in the 79th minute to give India a chance. Chhangte cut inside and fired a shot towards the target. However, the attempt failed miserably. Brandon Fernandes came up to take a free kick from the right in the 90th minute, but the Lebanon defence promptly knocked his shot away.
India, the 2019 bronze medalists, concluded their King's Cup campaign without a victory. After a thrilling 2-2 draw in regulation time that stunned the Asian heavyweights, India's match against Iraq in the semifinals concluded in a tiebreaker, but the third-place match against Lebanon ended in defeat after the Indians missed multiple scoring chances.
India had plenty of ideas during the middle period. Manvir Singh and Lalianzuala Chhangte sprinted from both flanks to keep the Lebanon goalie vigilant, and they produced opportunities. However, when the real opportunities presented themselves, the ball either flew over the crossbar or missed the goal, much to the disappointment of the large contingent of Indian spectators in the stands.