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Kashima Antlers challenge for India U-19 colts in ACT semis

India U-19 National Team
India U-19 National Team

Photo courtesy: AIFF Media

After drawing 1-1 in the 1st leg of the FAM-FRENZ Asia Champions Trophy 2015, the India U-19 National Team travel to Kashima, Japan to face Kashima Antlers in the 2nd leg semifinal of the tournament at the Kashima Soccer Stadium on November 4, 2015. The kick-off is at 11.30 IST.

The Indian colts come on the back of a five match undefeated streak and will be looking to seal their place in the Finals of the coveted Championship come Wednesday, as both teams go level at 1-1 into the 2nd and deciding leg.

The Indian team playing in Malacca, Malaysia showcased a never-say-die attitude in the 1st leg of the semifinal and nullified the Japanese opponents for much of the match.

A Kashima Antlers goal in the 18th minute, followed by a quick Indian equalizer seconds later summed up the fixture as both teams cancelled each other in a battle for supremacy and possession.

With the 2nd leg up for taking and the stakes high, India U-19 Head Coach Lee Johnson believes that “focus is the key.”

Talking exclusively to AIFF Media Johnson said: “The lads showed good discipline on Wednesday and stuck to our game plan. We were organized and defended well under pressure.”

Reflecting on the stalemate in the 1st leg, Johnson opined: “The lads showed great character scoring straight after we conceded. We caused them problems but be must more clinical in possession and when in front of goal.”

“Going into the 2nd leg, we have to take our chances. We will always create, but ultimately goals win you games,” Johnson added.

The FAM-FRENZ Asia Champions Trophy 2015 has pitted the India U-19 team against some of the best teams in Asia, with Kashima Antlers being the most recent one. The colts during the course of the campaign have churned out sterling result, have been privy to some exquisite plays and have upset some of the top teams.

With Wednesday being the all-deciding day, perhaps the Indian colts need to reminiscence, draw inspiration from their brilliant performances in the campaign. “This is a good opportunity for lads to upset one of the best teams in South-East Asia. The game is there for the taking.”

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)