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AFC U19 Championship

AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers: Yemen 0-0 India - Dheeraj Singh heroics help Colts hold Yemen

11:35 PM MYT 06/11/2017
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India are now third in Group D behind Saudi Arabia and Yemen...

Dheeraj Sing's heroics in goal helped India U-19 hold Yemen to a goalless draw at the Prince Mohammad B Fahad Stadium, Saudi Arabia.

Coach Luis Norton de Matos fielded his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Rahim Ali upfront as the lone striker. Sanjeev Stalin returned to his favoured left-back role as Jitendra partnered skipper Sahil Panwar at the heart of the defence.

Yemen started the game brightly and took control of the game in no time. Both sides had half-chances throughout the first half but Colts' defence and Dheeraj Singh were determined to keep the Yemen attack at bay.

One such determined effort saw Sanjeev Stalin clash into a Yemen player to earn the first booking of the game at the half-hour mark. The resulting free-kick, much like the rest of the shots from Yemen until then, couldn't trouble Dheeraj Singh, who had a fine day in goal.

Yemen were threatening with their cross-field diagonals towards India's left which put Stalin under pressure throughout the game but the left-back stood firm and dealt with the continuous pressure well.

Boris Singh marauded up and down the right flank tirelessly and once such promising foray forward in the 36th minute had the entire Yemen defence on the backfoot and only a foul at the edge of the box could bring the darting run to an end.

At the stroke of half-time, Suresh Singh had the Yemen goalie surprised as he attempted a zero-angle effort from a corner but it skimmed the top of the net before sailing over the goal.

Rahim Ali had a golden chance to break the deadlock early in the second half but he shot straight at the goalie after he was released through on goal with only the Yemen custodian to beat.

Dheeraj Singh was called into action again as the game moved towards the full-time whistle and the U-17 World Cup star produced a reflex save to prevent a close-range attempt from sneaking past his near post.

In the end, the game told a story of chances that weren't converted and as a result of today's goalless draw, India are third in Group D with a solitary point. India will need a huge favour in terms of results from other fixtures if they are to secure qualification.

In their final group D game, India take on Turkmenistan in a must-win encounter on November 8.

India starting XI:

Dheeraj Singh (GK); Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Sahil Panwar, Sanjeev Stalin; Kumanthem Ninthoinganba (78’ - Nongdamba Naorem), Amarjit Singh (C), Suresh Singh, Rahul K.P (45’ - Namgyal Bhutia), Abhishek Haldar (63’ - Edmund Lalrindika), Rahim Ali.