Bambolim, Oct 11 (IANS) The India U-16 team lost by a solitary goal to China in the ongoing BRICS U-17 football tournament at the Athletic Stadium here on Tuesday.
With this loss, India find themselves at the bottom of the group and still to open their account, while China are on four points and sit on fourth, out of a possible twelve.
The opening minutes of the match turned into a cagey affair in the midfield as both teams vied for possession, with neither emerging on top. With China defusing much of the Indian attacks from the flanks, the colts resorted to tacky passing in the midfield.
In the 21st minute, Komal Thatal was found on the edge of the Chinese 18 yard box by a Boris pass, but the former could only manage to lob the ball over the Chinese custodian and over the Chinese goal, as India pressed for a goal.
Two minutes later, Boris beautifully nutmegged his marker but failed to control the ball. With the Indian defence mopping up much of the Chinese attacks, the first big chance for China came in the 28th minute from a free-kick, but Dheeraj saved.
Three minute before half-time Amarjit darted towards the final third and a flailing Chinese body somehow thwarted his venomous shot, as both team went into the tunnel on level pegging at half-time with the scoreline reading 0-0.
Dheeraj was once again called into action minutes into the second half and the lanky custodian proved vital between the sticks as he denied China twice from close range.
Head Coach Nicolai Adam shuffled his pack and introduced a fresh pair of legs — Narendar for Aniket Jadhav — to up the attacking ante. In the 67th minute, substitute Shubham Sarangi missed a header from close range, but the referee had already flagged the medio for offside to halt proceedings.
Nine minutes later, an Indian corner whizzed in front of the Chinese goal but with neither team applied to make decent contact the opportunity went abegging.
The Chinese defence line kept the Indian attack force at bay and despite numerous attempts at goal, the Indian colts were left reeling with failure to convert infront of goal. China scored in the dying embers of the match as the full-time scoreline read 0-1 in China’s favour.