In what can only be considered as a deplorable anti-climax to a much emphasized tour of the Czech Republic, the Indian national Under-23 team was beaten fair and square by TJ Domažlice, a Bohemian League side. The match was held at the Domažlice Stadium, Czech Republic.
The Indian side that drew 2-2 in their previous match against FK Most saw nine changes introduced, with only Mandar Rao Desai and Narayan Das keeping hold of their berths.
Though, both teams were out of the blocks relatively quick, the host looked the sharper side and were in the lead as early as the sixth minute when Salam Ranjan Singh’s miscued clearance was pounced upon gleefully by striker Hrdlika, to make the score 1-0.
Thongkhosiem Haokip then provided a splendid ball, which the advancing Alwyn George should comfortably leveled the scores with. But as was the story of the tournament, the Indians failed to take advantage of their opportunity and were made to pay later in the 33rd minute.
Indian medios, namely Dhanpal Ganesh and Milan Singh were particularly impressive with them using their range of passing to pick out intricate plays. The latter’s 30 yard singer went just wide of the hosts goal.
However, India’s hope of drawing level was dented twelve minutes before the interval with defender Bauer rising up to head the ball from a well taken corner. The half ended without anymore noticeable incident, as India stared at defeat languish behind the hosts by a margin of 2-0.
The second half saw six substitutions by Koevermans, the Indian national coach, with Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, Lalrindika Ralte, Pronay Halder, Francis Fernandes and Sunil Chhetri all joining the action.
The visitors started the second sprightlier, with chances coming thick and fast. Robin Singh was brought on for added measure up front.
The Blue Tigers, for all their efforts at getting level, were made to pay the ultimate price in the 64th minute, as they conceded a goal from a corner, similar to the first, with defender Tuma adding his name to the scoresheet, alongside partner Bauer from a flick of the head at the far post.
While Robin, Clifton Dias and Francis went close on gilt edged chances for the visiting team, it was birthday boy Sunil Chhetri who tapped into goal in the 88th, from a rebound that resulted thanks to a well taken corner, courtesy Ralte.
India’s shambolic defending was once again to blame as they conceded the match 3-1.