Doha: India signed off the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers campaign in style, having overpowered Turkmenistan by a whopping margin of 3-1 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha tonight (July 23, 2017).
Having conceded in the 13th minute, India made a strong comeback in the first-half three minutes to the end of the final whistle when Manvir Singh netted the equaliser. Alen Deory and Jerry Lalrinzuala scored within four minutes to stage their first victory in the tournament.
India finished their campaign with 3 points from 3 matches, behind Qatar and Syria who will lock their horns later tonight.
India on Sunday started from where they left against Qatar the other day. Flurry of attacks in the first 10 minutes, getting closer to scoring their opening goal in the tournament, keeping the enthusiast Indian supporters on the edge of the seats- everything were dished out subtly by the boys clad in their usual blue outfit in their final match of the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha today (July 23, 2017).
India snatched their first corner in the 4th minute of the match but Anirudh's long corner came a bit too heavier for Sarthak. Lallianzuala caused to wreck havoc from the left flank but his cutting-edge deliveries couldn't have been utilised properly by Hitesh Sharma.
Meanwhile, Davinder Singh conceded a free-kick at the top of the box in the 13th minute and Hojovov Hoshgeldi, from the free-kick, stunned the Indian outfit to pull off a stunner against the run of the play. The goal seemed to have reignited the boys' zeal to make a comeback in the match. Zuala took on his own but his blasting left-footer missed the target by an inch or two in the next minute. Indians tightened the screw to threaten the Turkmenistan defence more often but the opposition defenders stood tall between them and the equaliser. In the 42nd minute, Manvir Singh tapped down a long ball which had his name written on it to finally get past the Turkmenistan goalie who maintained a clean sheet against Syria in their last match. The boys headed to the changing room locked at a 1-1 scoreline.
After the resumption, Stephen's boys started to press more to get onto the driver's seat but they had to wait until the super-sub Alen Deory found the back of the net in the 72nd minute. Manvir and Nikhil built on an exquisite counter-attack to finally find Alen, who replaced Hitesh Sharma four minutes before, to do the damage work to send the 200-odd Indian supporters into a delirium.
Indians were at the top of their game and they didn't need to wait long to double the lead. Nikhil earned a free-kick at the top of the Turkmenistan box which was wrongly handed by a defender inside the box. The referee didn't think twice to award the Indians a penalty. Jerry Lalrinzuala came forward to shoulder the duty and clobbered India's third goal in style to take the game away from the oppositions.
Till the final whistle, Indians were able to hold their nerves to leave the ground holding their heads high.
India: Vishal Kaith (GK), Davinder Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Salam Ranjan Singh (C), Sarthak Golui, Anirudh Thapa (Robinson Singh 90'), Germanpreet Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte (Nandha Kumar 80'), Nikhil Poojary, Hitesh Sharma (Alen Deory 68'), Manvir Singhanvir