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NEW DELHI: India ended their campaign in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 when they went down four nil to a superior and physical Ghana in their third Group A match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital on Thursday (October 12, 2017). The winners led 1-0 at the interval.


Head Coach Luis Norton de Matos made four changes in the starting line-up and it enabled India to take the attack to Ghana right from the kick-off. The first corner was earned within 20 seconds followed by a low shot which went straight to rival Goalkeeper Danald Ibrahim. There was quick interchanging of passes in the midfield as India attacked mostly down the right flank.


Ghana, however, were waiting to pounce on the counter and with the Indians playing quite a high line, the danger of being hit was always there. In the 6th minute the rival midfield, almost at Usain Bolt speed, ran past the defence to put it into the back of the net only to be ruled off-side. Perhaps it was an indication of things to come and as the match progressed, the rivals took it over.


The first goal came a minute before the interval. Sadiq Ibrahim unleashed a low shot, one of those which every goalkeeper hates and though Dheeraj Singh was quick to go down and palm it, rival Captain Eric Ayaih blasted in the rebound.


The goal completely changed the complexion of the match as after the changeover Ghana took over the reins initiating at high intensity which had the Indians guessing. The Indian midfield and defence were unable to counter the speed at which Ghana operated and as the match progressed, the Indians looked tired and worn out, a fact which Matos admitted at the post match press conference.


Changing over, reluctance of releasing the ball gifted Ghana their second goal. Having intercepted a one-two, Sanjeev Stalin sidestepped his marker but the rush of adrenalin tempted him to go solo instead of getting it to his unmarked teammates. He tried to dribble past the entire rival midfield and eventually got caught in the jungle of legs.


The counter was fast not allowing the Indian defence to recover – Aiyah this time digging his left-footer to the left of Dheeraj for his second goal of the match. It was a goal which could have been avoided, but those stay the mistakes which you learn from.


Head Coach Luis Norton de Matos made his first change in the 58th minute, Naorem being replaced by Ninthoiganba


Ghana, by then, were stretching it to the flanks to penetrate. Both the wingers were nippy and chased it faster than Boris and Sanjeev laying it for the strikers in the box. And had not Dheeraj not leapt high to intercept a lob in a one to one situation, things could have been worse.


Matos executed his second change in the 63rd minute – this time captain Amarjit being replaced by Rahim Ali and then in the 77th minute Lalengmawia coming in for Aniket.


Realising time was running out, India went all out. In the 80st minute Rahul KP did try from a distance but it went straight to Danald, and three minutes later, even as Lalengmawia tried to beat Danald, the latter despite fumbling the first occasion, managed to hold on.


Ghana sealed the fate with two goals in two minutes in the 84th and the 85th – sloppy defending letting India down on both occasions as Ghanaians outnumbered the Indian defence in the box and put it in with glee.


INDIA: Dheeraj Singh; Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin; Rahul KP, Amarjit Singh (Captain) (Rahim Ali – 63rd), Suresh Singh, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem (Ninthoiganba – 58th), Aniket Jadhav (Lalengmawia – 77th).

Posted on : Thursday October 12, 2017