The Indian National Under-17 team suffered a narrow 0-1 defeat at the hands of Russia in the curtain raiser of the BRICS U-17 Football Tournament in Bambolim, Goa on Wednesday.
Daniil Lopatin's solitary goal in the third minute swung the tie in favour of the Europeans not before they were reduced to ten men in the second half, but fought off the adversary until the end to bag all three points.
Hosts India were put under the firing line from the word go. A defensive blunder and fracas inside the India penalty box saw Spartak Moskva forward Lopatin's shot beat the India custodian Dheeraj Singh and the home side were never able to recover thereafter.
India's first real chance arrived in the 24th minute when Boris Singh Thangjam crossed a ball pin-point from the right into Aniket Jadhav's trajectory. However, Aniket failed to connect and the boys in blue squandered a golden opportunity in front of goal.
The Russian offence kept testing Dheeraj but the 'keeper remained resolute in front of the net. His counterpart had not much to do except for fending of an attempt by Boris in the 31st minute.
Skipper Amarjit Singh Kiyam raised India hopes for an equaliser when his shot went inches wide off the post in the 48th minute. Two minutes later, Kiyam was brought down in a brazen manner and midfielder Nail Umiarov was given his marching orders by the referee.
In an attempt to take advantage of the extra man on the field, India's Sanjeev Stalin, Amarjit and Aman Chhetri were all left exasperated as they looked to find the equaliser.
Komal Thatal came antagonisingly close to scoring from a curling effort in the 83rd minute. However, Russia did not have a single shot on goal in the second period but parked the bus in front of the Indian attackers.
India next play South Africa on 7th October. Russia entertain China on the same day.