Kathmandu, Sep 25 (IANS) The Indian U-18 football team progressed to the semi-finals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U-18 Championship after defeating Sri Lanka 3-0 in their last group stage match at the AFP Stadium here on Wednesday.
Gurkirat Singh’s brace, coupled with a late Aman Chetri strike, proved to be the difference between the two sides despite India having the lion’s share of possession and creating multiple opportunities.
The Indian U-18s had started the match on an attacking note and, despite having possession, the Colts could do little in front of goal with Sri Lanka heaping bodies in defence and making it difficult for the U-18 boys to play their passing game. The half-time scoreline read 0-0 as both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging.
The Indian colts started the second half with much vigour but once again complacency in front of goal cost them chances. In the 65th minute, Gurkirat Singh found the back of the net after a melee in the box with a cross coming in through the flanks.
Gurkirat Singh and Aman Chetri added more to India’s tally in the dying moments of the match to extend India’s lead and make it unassailable.
The three-goal margin proved enough for the Indian colts to seal their win and progress to the semi-finals of the SAFF U-18 Championship.