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PVF Vietnam manage to keep India U-16 at bay

India U-16 national team

India U-16 national team

Goals and memories have, and, will stay interlinked. A glorious volley from just outside the box into the deep corner from the feet of a 15-year old lit up the Barasat Stadium on Saturday evening. The somersault and celebration from Nijwm Muchahary followed.

AIFF XI (India U-16) rode on that brilliant strike as they drew 1-1 with PVF Vietnam to register their first point in the Asia Champions Trophy 2014. PVF’s Vietnam’s Phang Throng missed a penalty in injury time but made amends almost immediately scoring from a freekick from just outside the box.

The result helped AIFF open their account after three matches while PVF Vietnam moved to seven points from three matches.

If the afternoon provided respite after it rained Cats and Dogs in the City of Joy since morning, AIFF XI’s display in the evening under the lights provided solace.

However, it was PVF who started off on a brighter note. In the first five minutes they pushed AIFF XI into their own half with the omnipresent midfielder Pham Trong regulating the attacks, Though they couldn’t penetrate, their quick interchanging seemed promising.

But the initial promise faded away. AIFF XI slowed it down, took over the possession and started building from the back. With the two wingbacks often overlapping, it added that extra manpower to the attack.

There were three corners earned in the first 18 minutes itself, the last of which saw Njiwm Muchahary’s powerful grounder collected cleanly by a composed rival Goalkepeer Phan Van Bieu. The next one came in the 28th minute but this time Nijwm’s vicious floater was neatly collected by Phan Van.

By the 30th minute, AIFF XI had taken full control of the game. Krishna Pandit and Nijwm had interchanged flanks and with Anirudh Thapa marshalling from the midfield, PVF had to defend vigorously. In the 31st minute, Phan Van again came to his Team’s rescue when he collected Amey’s thunderous volley from just outside the 18-yard box.

PVF’s had, perhaps their closest shave of the first half in the 36th minute. This time, Nuruddin Sameer smartly feinted past Le Thang Phong but his placement, all addressed to the net missed the net by the narrowest of margins.

The goal eventually came in the 38th minute, a goal which will stay afresh in the memory for long. Nijwm followed a clearance and volleyed in – bang into the net to the right corner past a diving Phan Van.

As was the script in the first half, PVF Vietnam started on a brighter note but AIFF XI didn’t crack. The pressure was absorbed and attacks initiated after the patient wait to catch the rival on the wrong foot.

In the 73rd minute, Jerry Lalrinzuala’s free-kick from the edge of the box hit the wall. The resultant corner, however, went abegging.

PVF, by that time, were depending on counter-attacks. Even as the AIFF defence were thwarting them, one of them in the 76th minute could have been dangerous had not Goalkepeer Dheeraj Singh came to the rescue after Nguyen Vu had gone past Amit Tudu. PVF’s next chance came in the 81st minute but Dheeraj was inplace to collect Bguyen’s powerful header.

The first substitution for AIFF XI came in the 81st minute – the tireless Anirudh Thapa making way for the nippy Bodo Baoringdao. Two more substitutions followed in the 85th minute – Edmund Lalrindika and Deepndra Singh replacing Nuruddin and Kharlyuki Keke respectively.

Understandably PVF went all out in the last four minutes but the Indian defence stood tall.

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)