The India U-16 team succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of a robust Tanzania side on Matchday Two of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Youth Cup, on Tuesday. India lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and made no changes to their side that drew 2-2 versus Malaysia on MatchDay One.
The Indians started on the front foot. Aniket Jadhav was in the centre of the action in the third minute as Sanjeev Stalin fed a delightful throughball to the tall forward and his left-footed attempt missed the Tanzanian goal by inches.
Tanzania had a chance through Mohammed Abdullah in the seventh minute as a perfect ball in from the right wing found the attacking midfielder but his unmarked header was off target.
Ramdhani Kabwili, Tanzania’s goalkeeper produced a wonder save six minutes later from Khumantem Meetei’s shot from inside the box to deny the home side from taking an early lead.
It was the African side that broke the deadlock in the 21st minute through Maziku Amani’s half-volley after a cushion header from the edge of the box sent him through on goal.
Tanzania doubled their lead in the 29th minute through an own goal as India’s defender, Mohammad Khan’s attempt to clear a low cross ended up in the back of the net.
India pulled one back in the 39th minute through Komal Thapal’s tap-in. The goal was created by Aniket Jadhav who ran past his marker on the right hand side and sent a fizzing ball into the box which was spilled by the Tanzanian goalkeeper and eventually buried into the empty net by Thapal for his second goal in as many games.
At half-time, India were facing the prospect of their first defeat of the tournament.
Tanzania extended their lead yet again immediately after half-time through a well taken free-kick by Asad Ali Juma after Boris Thangjam conceded a foul on the edge of the box.
Nicolai Adam’s U-16 boys decided to introduce a second striker in the form of Aman Chhetri to support Jadav but despite that, there was no effect on the score-line.
Bakari Shime’s side missed a glorious opportunity to put the game to bed in the 66th minute as a well-constructed move from the right hand side was not finished by Maziku Amani. In the very next minute, India’s goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz made back-to-back saves in his attempt to keep his side in the hunt.
Chhetri found himself through on goal in the 73rd minute after a throughball by Suresh Wangjam but the striker shot off target with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Adam was then told to leave the dugout as he was not wearing his ID card. Nicolai was asked to vacate the touchline following a verbal altercation with the assistant referee.
India missed a chance to make their way back into the game in the 84th minute as a long throw into the box was headed wide by Mohammad Sarif Khan. Tanazania had a goal ruled out in the 87th minute as the forward was offside.
With their morale down and the formation not functioning up to its usual levels of efficiency, the Blue Tigers finished the game at the wrong end of a 1-3 score-line.