The U19 Indian national team held their Bulgarian counterparts to a 1-1 draw in their third and final group clash in the Granatkin Memorial tournament at the Petrovsky stadium.
Floyd Pinto’s men went behind early to a Muhammed Rafi own goal (7’) before Akash Mishra’s header in the 48th minute helped them finish their Group A proceedings with a solitary point.
The Indian colts started poorly on the day with the defence’s failure to clear their lines costing them dear. Bulgaria took advantage by overloading on the right flank before the resulting low cross was turned into his own net by Muhammed Rafi.
The Indians grew into the game as the first half wore on but Bulgaria remained the dominant side. That picture changed quickly at the start of the second period with India grabbing an equaliser in the 48th minute through a corner.
Sanjeev Stalin floated the ball into the danger area where Akash Mishra rose highest to head the ball past the Bulgaria custodian.
Bulgaria continued to dominate possession and proceedings with India playing on the break in the second period. However, India were resolute and organised in defence and did not allow the Europeans too many clear-cut opportunities at goal.
India did show more adventure in the dying minutes and had an excellent opportunity to grab the winner following a quick counter-attack from the back. Striker Harmanpreet Singh turned past his marker excellently before unleashing a fierce left-footed shot that went just wide of the crossbar.
The forward had another golden chance in injury time after he found himself released behind the Bulgaria defence but his final attempt was smothered by the custodian before the ball was cleared.
India had started their campaign in the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Russia before they were beaten 2-1 by Moldova in their second game.