The strong Turkmenistan U-23 were defeated by the India U-23 team with an amazing comeback in the India’s last match in the AFC Championship qualifiers on Sunday, 23 July 2017.
India U-23 played its last match of the campaign in style with a victory over Turkmenistan with 1-3 score line and coming back from 1-0 early in first half. Match was held at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha. This was India’s first victory in this year’s campaign. Having lost their both previous matches against Qatar and Syria and beating Turkmenistan in their last encounter shows a stronger and more determined side of the Indian U-23 team.
Indian boys started off with a full attacking mode as in the match against Qatar and kept the spectators on the edge of their seats. Series of attacks by the Indian side in the opening ten minutes made them confident enough to come off with a victory.
First corner of the game came to Indian side in the 4th min. Corner taken by Anirudh was a bit far from Sarthak, who could have given his a lead. Lallianzuala in full form on the left flank, with giving in crosses, but the forwards failed to convert them into goals.
It was in the 13th min when match saw the first goal. Hojovov Hoshgeldi with a free-kick, just out of the box, gave his side the lead.
The lead taken by the opponents made almost no impact on the Indian boys, infact it reignited the urge for the come back and win. Zuala, in the very next minute after the goal, went on his own, but his shot was a inch off target. India kept on attacking and threatening the Turkmenistan side, but their defenders stood tall to cut off all the attacks of an equalizer.
Manvir Singh was the one who was able to beat Turkmenistan goalie and score a equalizer in the 42nd min. The scoreline remained 1-1 for the next three minutes and the half time.
Stephen’s boys started the second half with same attacking game as the first half, this time with more pressure. Alen Deory came in for Hitesh Sharma in the 68th min.
An amazing counter attack built by Manvir and Nikhil made Alen to come in as a super sub. Alen managed to be in the right place at the right time, receiving the pass from the counter counter attack built by Manvir and Nikhil and score the second for his side and the Indian team on the lead.
Couple of minutes later, India U-23 boys were awarded a penalty. A free-kick by Nikhil from the edge of the box which was converted to a penalty as the referee gave a hand ball decision against the defender of Turkmenistan. This doubled the lead for the Indian side. Jerry Lalrinzuala came on the score sheet as he stepped on to score the third and last goal of the game from the spot.
Score was 1-3 in the favor of India, who came off with their heads held high.