India Under-19 lose to Pakistan in final game

The India Under-19 boys suffered an unnecessary 1-2 defeat at the hands of neighbours Pakistan in their final AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers in Group C at the Takhti Stadium in Tehran. The cold wintery weather did hamper the Indians boys, but once more finishing was the problem as otherwise they should have won the match.

The same old story of the Uzbekistan match was repeated four days later on Tuesday - the failure of putting it into the net from positions where one slotting home should have become a habit by now.

In the first half, the boys found hard to adjust to the slushy ground conditions. Pakistan adjusted better and rode on a brace from Billwal-ur-Rehman to beat India 2-1. Bilawal scored his first when he headed it home in the 32nd minute, and then in the 43rd minute, he scored off a direct free-kick from outside the box. Overall, the discipline in defence and midfield which had made India stand out among all teams stayed missing in the first half and Pakistan were fast to capitalise on that. Changing over, India pulled one back in the 55th minute when Johnnychand Singh blasted home an Anto Xavier cross from the left.

The Indians pressed hard thereafter but stayed guilty of missing changes from close on three occasions – Pronoy Halder, Holicharan Narzary and Johnnychand failing to place it in with the rival goalkeeper Saqib Hanif at their mercy. India finished their campaign in third place with three points from four matches and the stats sadly don't tell the true story of this talented bunch of players.

India Under-19: 23-Ravi Kumar; 6-Akashdeep Singh, 4-Bikramjit Singh (45' 5-Arijeet Singh), 3-Sonu, 14-Narayan Das; 20-Johnychand Singh, 9-Sehnaj Singh, 8-Pronay Halder, 22-Anto Xavier (85' 17-Rajinder Kumar); 11-Holicharan Narzary (77' 10-Sumeet Passi), 13-Malswamfela [C]
Unused Substitutes: 21-Albino Giovanni Gomes, 26-Mohammad Moniruzzaman Ansari, 2-Pawan Kumar, 7-Prabir Das, 15-Edwin Gosula, 16-Pritam Kotal, 24-Sunny, 33-Tirthankar Sarkar

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