The India U-17 men’s team produced a fine performance to defeat hosts Qatar 3-0 in the second of two friendly matches at the Aspire Academy in Doha on Tuesday.
India qualified for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup final rounds to be held later this year and these matches are held as part of the preparations for the tournament.
Qatar, who had won the first friendly 3-1 on Saturday, were put on the back foot from the get-go by India.
Bibiano Fernandes’ side opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Qatar goalkeeper Zeiad Shoaib handled a backpass inside his own penalty area, giving India an indirect free-kick which was converted by defender Ricky Meetei Haobam.
India did not sit back after taking the lead and kept the pressure on. Danny Laishram went close to doubling the advantage when his free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box whistled wide of the post.
However, the Blue Colts did profit from their next set piece opportunity. Gurnaj Singh Grewal crossed to captain Korou Singh Thingujam, who saw his shot blocked by custodian Shoaib. But the rebound fell kindly for Shashwat Panwar, who tapped in to make it two for India in the 34th minute. It was Panwar’s second goal in as many matches.
The second half did not see much goalmouth action, but India did have sparse chances to build an even bigger lead. Danny’s shot was collected by the goalkeeper before Panwar’s effort went narrowly wide. Indian goalkeeper Sahil made his only save in the 71st minute, an acrobatic one to maintain his clean sheet.
Coach Fernandes rolled in a few substitutions in the final 15 minutes to see off the contest. Malemngamba Singh Thokchom, Vanlalpeka Guite, Gogocha Chungkham and Lalpekhlua all came in.
Finally, Korou (90+2) wrapped up the victory with India’s third goal in injury time. Guite picked Korou out with a brilliant through ball and the winger made no mistake one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
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