The Indian U23 national team has been knocked out of the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers after a 1-1 draw against Qatar’s U23 team. Desmond Bulpin’s wards lost the first leg 1-3 in Doha a few days ago.
India U23 1-1 Qatar U23
(Aggregate result: India U23 2-4 Qatar U23)
1-0 Khaled Muftah (53′, own goal), 1-1 Mohamed Salah El Neel (73′)
1-Laxmikant Kattimani; 2-Abhishek Das (90′ 16-Jagtar Singh), 3-Arnab Mondal, 4-Raju Eknath Gaikwad [C], 5-Gurjinder Kumar; 6-Lalrindika Ralte, 8-Jewel Raja Sheikh (75′ 15-Ongnam Milan Singh), 7-Shilton Sydney D’Silva, 9-Kh. Jibon Singh; 10-Jeje Lalpekhlua, 11-C.S. Sabeeth (69′ 17-Manandeep Singh)
18-Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, 12-Deepak Devrani, 13-Shahbas Shaleel, 14-Anthony Barbosa
1-Saad Al Sheeb; 2-Murad Naji, 4-Almahdi Mukhtar, 5-Saeed Essa, 6-Abdellaziz Hatim, 8-Fadhl Omar, 10-Hasan Haidos [C] (90’+3′ 13-Al Khalfan), 11-Mohamed Salah El Neel (88′ 7-Al Nahoyi), 12-Abdulla, 15-Khaled Muftah, 16-Abdulaziz Al Ansari (77′ 9-Fahad Khalfan)
3-Khaled Nawaf, 14-Abdul Rahman Abdulla, 17-Hamad Mohammed Abidi, 18-Ahmed Sofyan
36′ Shilton Sydney D’Silva, 63′ Jewel Raja Sheikh (both India); 20′ Murad Naji, 29′ Abdulaziz Al Ansari, 42′ Mohamed Salah El Neel (all Qatar)
Relive the match minute by minute:
For all the talent, thrust, preparation and dominance the slate stays blank for India’s U-23 squad. Their dreams of making it to the 2012 London Olympics ended at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on Thursday.
A match which India should have won handsomely ended 1-1. Result: India’s London Dreams ends. Qatar who won the first leg 3-1 at the Al Sadd Stadium won 4-2 on aggregate.
As the Indians headed to the tunnel after the end of the match, they couldn’t help pondering why the Almighty thought it best to conspire against them.
Instance 1: Striker Jeje Lalpeklua failed to tap it in with the goalkeeper at his mercy in the 10th minute – Raju Gaikwad’s first throw-in putting him in a scoring position.
Instance 2: In the 19th minute, Lalrindika Ralte failed to convert from the spot, a diving Sadd Al Sheeb palming his effort away. The spot-kick was awarded after Murad Hussein handled Jeje’s shot in the box.
Instance 3: Shilton D’Silva fails to connect Jewel Raja’s shot from inside the box in the 44th minute. Again, it was all initiated by another of Raju’s long-throws.
Instance 4: Jeje fails to put it past the rival goalkeeper in the 71st minute from a hand-shaking distance.
In between, the Indians had surged into the lead as Khaled Muftah slotted it into his own net in the 54th minute only for Qatar’s Mohammed Elneel to volley it in past Laxmikant Kattimani. That was the only scoring chance Qatar had.
“We were distinctly unlucky not to win,” Coach Desmond Bulpin uttered. National Team Coach Armando Colaco standing next who had come all the way from Delhi, besides lauding Bulpin and his boys said: “The future of Indian football stays in safe hands.”
The Indians pressed hard and didn’t allow the ‘technically better,’ Qatar side the maneuvering space in the midfield. Unlike the first-leg in Doha Hasan Al Haydos wasn’t allowed the space by the Indian midfield. Jewel Raja and Shilton closing him up.
Post-match consolations came from every corner. This is India’s best-ever performance against Qatar. Spare a thought for India’s U-21 boys. They should have been there in the next round – but life is not always a dream.
(AIFF Match Report)