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10-man India U19 go down to Uzbekistan

India U19


India U19

For a change, it didn’t rain. Instead it rained attacks on the field. But at the end, such matches, whenever spoken about in the future, will unfortunately end with the age-old cliché: So Near, Yet So Far.

A match which should have been won handsomely ends in pain for India’s U19 team – with a 1-2 defeat. Despite all the domination, fighting spirit – that too with 10-men; despite all those one-to-one misses and one hitting the upright, the slate stayed blank — all, against a side which had six players which made it to the quarterfinals of the U17 World Cup in Mexico.

Uzbekistan beat India 2-1 to brighten their chances of making it to the final phase with six points from two matches while India stay on three points from three matches with one match to go – against Pakistan on November 8.

Looking back, the sending off of Brandon Fernandes in the 73rd minute seemed to be the decisive moment. Brandon received his second yellow and was given marching orders. Till then, India, down by a 32nd minute goal had come back strongly to equalise in the 60th minute when a tireless Pronoy Halder headed it in. And with the Indians pressing hard, the Uzbeks stayed busy defending,

Earlier, the Indians kicked-off right from the kick-off. In the 11th minute, Sumit Passi lobbed it over an onrushing rival goalkeeper Amanok Asilbek only to find it hitting the upright. And then, six minutes later, Brandon Fernandes’ free-kick from the top of the box agonisingly sailed over.

Changing over, early in the second half, Holicharan Narzary had snaked in between the two Uzbek Central defenders into the box but delayed that split second in putting it past the goalkeeper. And then, in the 72nd minute, Passi, all in the clear volleyed over a Holicharan cross from the left. Another clear change went abegging in the 85th minute when two legs in consecution fail to tap in a Malswamfela free-kick.

It was difficult to believe that India returned from the match without a point in their kitty. Walking back, it was overheard in the tunnel, “The Almighty never stays on our side.” But then, you ought to convert the chances that come your way.

(AIFF Press Release / Written by Nilanjan Datta)


AFC U19 Championship – Qualifier – Group C
Uzbekistan U19 2-1 India U19


Takhti Stadium, Tehran


1-0 Vladimir Kozak (32′)
1-1 Pronoy Halder (60′)
2-1 Vladimir Kozak (87′)



India U19
Ravi Kumar; Akashdeep Singh, Bikramjit Singh, Sonu, Narayan Das; Johnnychand Singh, Sehnaj Singh (55′ Prabir Das), Pronay Halder, Brandon Fernandes; Holicharan Narzary [C] (82′ Malswamfela), Sumit Passi