AFC U23 Championship Qualifier: India lose to Syria in opening match

first_imgIndia U-23 went down fighting 2-0 to Syria U-23 in their opening encounter of the AFC U23 Championship China 2018 Qualifiers opener at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha on Wednesday.Both teams were locked goalless at the interval till half time but Syria stepped up their game in the second half to walk away as winners.The U-23 boys next play hosts and group favourites Qatar U-23 on Friday.India began on a cautious note and pressed hard in their effort to unsettle the physically superior Syrians. The first chance of the day fell to striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia but the ex-AIFF Academy cadet could not make the most of the opportunity.Nikhil Poojary on the right flank kept the rival defence busy with his incisive crosses, as the Indian midfield preferred to rotate from one side to the other.The high point for India came in the 37th minute when a string of passes found the tireless Germanpreet Singh in the clear but his prompt right-footer rebounded off the post for a corner.The resultant corner, a long one from Anirudh Thapa was met by Nishu Kumar from the top of the box but it missed by a whisker as both teams headed to the interval locked goalless.Photo Credit: AIFF Changing over, striker Manvir Singh came close to scoring the opener but his header landed safely into the Syrian goalkeeper’s gloves.As the game neared the hour-mark, Indians appeared to lose the plot a bit — skipper Lalruatthara and Nishu Kumar going into the referee’s book for challenges.Syria went ahead in the 64th minute — striker Rabie Srour lobbing it over goalkeeper Vishal Kaith who was caught out of position — central defender Salam Ranjan Singh’s valiant attempt to keep off the lob went in vain.In the 75th minute, Nikhil Poojary powered another cross from the right flank but Hitesh mistimed his leap unable to find the elusive equaliser.Syria sealed the fate of the match in the 88th minute — Fares Arnaout doubling the score for them.INDIA: Vishal Kaith, Nishu Kumar, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Lalruatthara (C) (Sartha Golui 81′), Salam Ranjan Singh, Germanpreet Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Nandha Kumar, Anirudh Thapa (Robinson Singh 81′), Daniel Lalhlimpuia (Hitesh Sharma 72′), Manvir Singh.last_img

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