India U-23 romp into semi-finals

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AIFF Media Team


NEW DELHI: The Indian U-23 National Team defeated Maldives 3-2 in the ongoing 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati on February 10, 2016.


An Udanta Singh brace and a Pritam Kotal strike ensured an Indian win in a topsy-turvy match wherein Maldives equalized their deficit twice, before finally surrendering to the Indian attacking prowess.  


India took the lead as early as the 4th minute when Udanta Singh steered clear off the Maldivian defence line and blasted his opportunity home to give the ‘Men in Blue’ a solitary goal lead.


Three minutes later, Udanta Singh once again burst onto goal and in an attempt to score his second of the match, he hoofed the shot wide, as the attacking opportunity went abegging. In the 9th minute, Maldives equalized their deficit against the run of play to make the score-line 1-1.


Not to be deterred, the Indian contingent took the charge of the match once again as Pritam Kotal’s thunderous header in the 11th minute ended in the back of the net to give the ‘Men in Blue’ a 2-1 lead.


With India having the lion’s share of possession, opportunities to extend their lead came in plenty. In the 31st minute, Udanta Singh dashed onto a vacant left flank, however the Bengaluru FC forward slipped while positing himself for the final shot. Nine minutes later, it was Jerry tried to extend India’s lead, but his shot deflected off the Maldivian defence line.


In the 42nd minute, Maldives equalized their deficit as both Teams went into the tunnel on level pegging as the scoreline read 2-2.


The ‘Men in Blue’ once again surged into lead in the 59th minute through Udanta Singh, who slotted his opportunity cheekily past the Maldivian custodian to make the scoreline read 3-2 in India’s favour.


Shortly after, Head Coach Lee Johnson shuffled his pack and introduced Lallianzuala in place of Jayesh Rane. The Indian contingent kept possession and pushed to extend their lead by two. In the 87th minute, Germanpreet’s rasping shot, following a corner kick, was saved by the Maldivian custodian.


Despite the Maldivian attack force pressed for the equalizer, the Indian defence line kept them at bay by diffusing the attacks with sheer acumen, as the full-time scoreline read 3-2 in India’s favour.


India XI against Maldives: T.P Rehenesh (GK); Pritam Kotal, Bikramjit Singh, Salam Ranjan Singh, Narayan Das (C); Udanta Singh, Rowlin Borges, Germanpreet Singh, Jayesh Rane (74’ - Lallianzuala), Jerry, Sumeet Passi (81’ – Halicharan Narzary)

Posted on : Wednesday February 10, 2016