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India U-23 lose Gold medal match in South Asian Games

India U-23 lose Gold medal match in South Asian Games

There were two football finals and both pitted India against Nepal. India won one and lost the other.

After the Indian Women had accounted for Nepal 4-0 to win the Gold in the Women’s section of the 12th South Asian Games in Shillong, the India U-23 Men after an one-sided performance in the first half eventually lost lead and match to Nepal to settle for the silver in the Men’s Championship in Guwahati. Nepal won 2-1.

India failed to follow up their stupendous first half performance in the second and eventually succumbed. Looking back, one may ponder about missed chances and the lack of conversion, but Indians have themselves to blame for the result.

Chances in the first half came galore and had they been taken, the story could have been different. But it turned out to be different story altogether.

In the first half, India had to wait till the 31st minute to surge into the lead, something which should have happened long back. The domination was totally one-sided.

The goal came off a conversion from the spot – local boy Holicharan Narzary slamming it in after Udanta Singh was brought down by Ananta Tamang.

India had seized the initiative early. Two corners were earned in the first 10 minutes and an Udanta Singh header disallowed for off-side. And in the next 10 minutes, another two were earned and Sumeet Passi’s header, off a Rowlin Borges corner missed by a whisker.

In the 27th minute, Passi outjumed his marker but failed to direct it into the net.

Udanta stayed a thorn in the flesh of the rivals in the first half. The crosses from either side came flowing but despite having free-headers they were not directed to where it should have been.

Also a plethora of corners went abegging.

Changing over, India failed to win the second ball, almost all throughout the last 45 minutes allowing Nepal to take over.

Perhaps, the easiest chance of the entire Championship fell to Borges who failed to head into an open net. That described the day.

In the last 15 minutes as Nepal desperately defended. India did win most of the aerial ball during the period but none had the direction and the power to beat the rival Custodian.

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)