The India Under 23 team were paid back by the Singapore Under 23 side as Stephen Constantine's boys were handed a 1-0 defeat at the Choa Chu Kan Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Ikhsan Fandi's solitary goal from the spot in the 52nd minute meant that the two-match International friendly series ended in a tie, with the scoreline similar to that of the visitor's win three days ago at the same venue.
You can read the match report from the first game here.
It was a slow and cautious start by both sides with the Indian Colts’ custodian Vishal Kaith being called into action in the seventh minute making a point-blank save which was followed by a goal-line clearance from the Indian defense.
The Indian slowly started growing into the came with winger Manvir Singh supplying delicious cross in the 16th minute which forward Daniel Lalhlimpua failed to make a connection with.
It was Singapore though who looked the better team in the early stages with Ikhsan Fandi, in particular, being a constant threat to the Indian defense. Kaith was called into action again in the 18th minute grabbing the ball mid-air from a threatening Singapore free kick. The lanky goalkeeper was tested repeatedly in the initial stages but stood firm to deny the Singapore attack.
Manvir Singh was lively and energetic on the left wing providing another inch perfect cross in the 23rd minute but there was no Indian forward in sight to connect. The Indians threatened on occasions with the first attack on target coming in the 26th minute but Nikhil Poojary’s weak header was easy pickings for the Singapore goalkeeper.
The hosts had the better of the chances in the remaining half but could not find the killer spark to put one past Kaith. Poojary saw an ambitious long range shot fly over the bar as the first half ended goalless.
Stephen Constantine made two changes at half-time bringing on Davinder Singh for right back Nishu Kumar and Hitesh Sharma replacing Lallianzuala Chhangte. Singapore rang in the changes too with Syahrul Sazali replacing Faizan Roslan and Hairul Syirhan replacing Zharfan Rohaizad.Under-21 players Liston Colaco and Princeton Rebello too have been signed up by the Virat Kohli co-owned team. The 2015 runners-up will be eligible to enter the ISL player draft, to be held on 23rd July from the third round.
The second half started in the same manner as the first half ended with Poojary going for a long range shot in the 49th minute which missed the post by a whisker. Disaster struck in the 51st minute for India with defender Ranjan Singh lazily bringing down Syahrul in the box resulting in a penalty for the Singapore team.Ikhsan Fandi made no mistake from the stop thumping a scrumptious shot into the top right corner of the goal past a hapless Kaith.
The Indian attack huffed and puffed looking for an equaliser but Singapore was still dangerous on the other hand with their forwards combining nicely to keep the Indian defense on the back-foot.
Despite their labours, India could not muster any clear cut chances till until the 83rd minute of the match with substitute Alen Deory failing to time his leap despite having an unguarded goal staring in front of him.
Manvir continued to be dangerous until the end and led a swift Indian breakaway in the 88th minute to square the ball for Poojary who was flagged offside. This would prove to be India’s last foray at the Singapore goal and the hosts stood firm to take home a 1-0 win in the end to square the two match series 1-1.
For Stephen Constantine and his men, all focus will now be on the AFC Asia Cup Under 23 Championship qualifying match against Qatar as the team prepare to fly out to the desert state next.