AFC U-23 Championship qualification: India U23 3-1 Turkmenistan U23 - Colts put up a splendid show against Turkmenistan

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India Colts conceded early in the game but put in a spirited effort to come back and claim a comfortable 3-1 win...

India U-23 side finally picked up a win in their third and last game of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers by putting up a spirited display at the Al-Sadd Stadium in Doha against the U-23 Turkmenistan side.

Both sides knew before taking to the field that they stood no chance of qualifying as hosts Qatar and Syria had done enough to guarantee themselves the top two qualifying spots from their group but still, India Colts gave it their all and managed to pick up a 3-1 win against the Turkmenistan squad. 

Indian coach Stephen Constantine made some changes from the side that faced Qatar. Midfielders Germanpreet Singh and Nikhil Poojary were brought in to give more stability in midfield. 

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Turkmenistan kicked off and looked to play from the back but in the early stages of the game, the Indian pressure had them unsettled. India looked to capitalise on their opponents' shaky defence and put multiple crosses in the Turkmenistan box in search of the opener.

By the 10th minute, the Indian side had already won themselves two corners and looked to be in control of the game. India piled on the early pressure as they kept on attacking down the flanks. Midfielder Germanpreet Singh had a powerful shot on target only to be saved by the Turkmenistan goalkeeper, Dovletyar. 

The Indian Colts looked like the team more likely to take the lead but completely against the run of play, Turkmenistan's no.3 Hoshgeldi scored an absolute belter from a free kick 30 yards out to give them the lead in the 13th minute.

India's Lallianzuala Changte had a great chance to equalise when he was up one on one against Dovletyar, but the keeper produced a great save to deny India the goal. 

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The Indian Colts had many more half chances but it was only in the 41st minute that a long ball floated from the middle of the park was calmly finished off by no.9 Manvir Singh to give India the much-deserved equaliser. 

Right from the start of the second half, Turkmenistan tried to muscle their way back into the game but in turn picked up 4 yellow cards over the half. Indian keeper Kaith had to make his first real save of the game when he saw off a lovely one-two between the Turkmenistan forwards. 

With both sides looking to play on the counter, Constantine made an inspired change in the 68th minute when he brought on no.12 Alan Deory for no.11 Hitesh Sharma, as it was the substitute Deory who would then put the Indians in the lead at the 72-minute mark. 

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India would go on to further extend their lead in the 77th minute thanks to a penalty that resulted from the handling of the ball by the Turkmenistan defender in his own box. Jerry Lalrinzuala calmly converted the spot kick to give India a 3-1 lead. 

The Turkmenistan outfit never looked like coming back after conceding the third goal and India saw through a memorable 3-1 victory on foreign soil. 

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