The India U-20 national team played out a 1-1 draw against Spanish side Union Deportiva Alzira U-22 in a friendly, ahead of the team's participation in the COTIF Cup, at the Venice Stadium in Valencia on Wednesday.
Aman Chetri put India ahead on the 71st minute but a late goal from Alzira forced both the teams to share the spoils at the end of 90 minutes.
India managed to weather a stormy first 20 minutes from the hosts as keeper Prabhsukhan Gill was forced to make multiple saves in the opening minutes. A flurry of flag-kicks for Alzira helped them maintain the pressure on India. In the 16th minute, defensive linchpin Anwar Ali showed fine defensive awareness by making a vital interception to keep the scoreline at 0-0.
India was relying on counter-attacks to make entries in the opposition half. Right back Boris Singh with his pace and guile created the first opportunity but his effort was saved by opposition custodian. A minute later, it was Boris who once again burst onto the scene, stealing possession from the defence, but failed to find the net.
The deadlock was yet to be broken as both teams headed for the tunnel at the end of the opening 45 minutes.
The India colts started on the ascendency in the second half and could have well found the opener around the hour-mark if Chetri could have slotted it past the keeper after latching on to a through ball from Ninthoi.
In the 71st minute, it was Chetri who found the opener after he was assisted by Aniket Jadhav. India chose to hold on to their slender lead which proved costly.
It was a defensive lapse while defending a set-piece from Flyod Pinto's boys which was capitalised by the opposition to score the equaliser in the dying embers of the match.
The team will be locking horns against Argentina U-20, Venezuela U-and Mauritania U-20 in the COTIF Cup – the Mini Mundial Sub U-20 Men’s Football Tournament next, which is slated to kick-off on July 29, 2018.