Indian Arrows began their I-League campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Chennai City FC at the Bambolim Stadium, Goa on Wednesday. Aniket Jadhav's brace followed by a 90th-minute goal from Boris Singh ensured three points for the youngsters.
Luis Norton de Matos started with Edmund Lalrindika, the only member of the India U19 squad in the first XI, as the lone striker in a 4-5-1. Anwar Ali and Jitendra Singh were the two centre-backs.
V Soundararajan had Jean Michael Joachim and Lucky Kelechukwa Michael as the two forwards in a 4-4-2 formation with Veniamin Shumeiko and Dharmaraj Ravanan at the heart of the defence.
The visitors started on the front foot but were soon matched for pace by the young Indians who put together a few good moves themselves. The Arrows created their first opening in the 13th minute when Edmund found Jeakson on the left. The latter cut a pass back for Suresh Singh whose shot flew above the framework.
However, De Matos' boys took the lead in the 20th minute with a move that was initiated by Boris Singh. Aniket Jadhav received the ball on the right edge of the penalty box from Rahul KP and went on to thump the ball into the net.
The visitors' only threat seemed to emanate from Jean Michael Joachim. The French attacker had a shot on target, though it was easily collected by Dheeraj Singh, and missed another after being set up by Pradeep Mohanraj.
Edmund struck the right post in the 28th minute and a reprieved Chennai City should have scored at the stroke of half-time. But Joachim shot straight at Dheeraj after receiving a superb through ball from Charles Anandraj.
The second half began well for the Arrows with Jadhav completing his brace with a calm finish after Edmund did all the hard work. He squared a pass from the right flank in the 58th minute for the Maharashtra-born player to turn in.
Chennai City had no answer to the youngsters' enterprise as the second half wore on.
Anwar Ali had a very good opportunity in the 78th minute but, from an unmarked position, he tapped Suresh's free-kick straight at the Chennai City custodian.
Meanwhile, Boris Singh hammered the final nail in Chennai City's coffin in the 90th minute. He took advantage of some sloppy defending and found the back of the net with aplomb.
The only disappointing factor about the game was that only 218 people came to witness the India colts' debut in top-tier Indian football. They deserved a better crowd as they started their I-league campaign on a fantastic note.