The Indian U-18 National Team progressed to the semi-finals of the SAFF U-18 Championship 2019 after defeating Sri Lanka 3-0 in their last group stage match today (September 25, 2019) at the AFP Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Gurkirat Singh’s brace coupled with a late Aman Chetri strike proved to be the difference between the two sides despite India having the lion’s share of possession and creating multiple opportunities. Speaking shortly after the win, Head Coach Floyd Pinto said, “It was good to get the win and gain some momentum. But none of these goals and this win matters unless we win the SAFF Championship”
“Our aim is to win the SAFF Championship and the boys produced a much better performance against Sri Lanka and we look forward to even better performance by them”
He added, “We wanted to put up a better display of performance and score as many goals as we wanted. And we owed this performance to ourselves”
The Indian U-18s had started the match on an attacking note and despite having possession the Colts could do little infront of goal with Sri Lanka heaping bodies in defence and making it difficult for the U-18 boys to play their passing game. The half-time scoreline read 0-0 as both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging.
The Indian Colts started the second half with much vigour but once again complacency infront of goal cost them chances. In the 65th minute, Gurkirat Singh found the back of the net after a meele in the box with a cross coming in through the flanks. Gurkirat Singh and Aman Chetri added more to India’s tally in the dying embers of the match to extend India’s lead and make it unassailable.
The three goal margin proved enough for the Indian colts to seal their win and progress to the semi-finals of the SAFF U-18 Championship.