India’s victory, which was laden with guile and verve, moves them up to second place in the group with Bhutan next in the offing...The Indian U-16 team’s Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Cup qualifiers campaign went from strength to strength with a mighty win against the Lebanon colts at the Sabah Al-Salem Stadium in Kuwait City. The win helped them attain second place in the group with four points from two games.
A strong India, organized in a 4-3-3 formation, couldn’t have asked for a better start as they took the lead as early as the 9th minute through a screamer from midfielder Nuruddin. His 30 yard effort saw the opposing Lebanese goalkeeper Mohamad Taha dive in vain as the shot kept rising and eventually hit the top corner of the net.
India had chances in the match to increase their lead over a more physically imposing Lebanese side, but Nuruddin and Bedashor sailed to convert their shots on goal and header respectively.
Then in the 43rd minute, a long throw in by Amit Tudu, was headed on at the near post by Jerry and Jayananda added gloss to the move by tapping the ball into the net. That was how the first half ended, with India in the driver’s seat.
Post the interval and Kharlukhi was replaced by Deependra Singh Negi. Nuruddin again went close in the 53rd minute, which originated from a flourishing attack by the Indian midfield by a super save from Taha saved Lebanese blushes.
The 58th minute saw Lebanese regain a bit of momentum and a possible comeback was on the cards after Ali Kharoubi put the ball past Dheeraj Singh in the Indian goalmouth, but it was a short-lived hope as hit two in the seven minutes that followed to effectively wrap up the tie.
Thapa had his name on the score-sheet as he netted India’s third while Bedashwor scored in the next four minutes to make it four on the night. Thaat was how the game ended, a clinical 4-1 victory to the young Blue Tigers.
India will play Bhutan in their next group match on the 27th of September.