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AFC U16 Championship: India dominant but needs work on finishing

11:16 AM SGT 22/9/18
Vikram Pratap Singh India U-16
India U-16s impressed against Vietnam in their first group game and Vikram Pratap came up with the matchwinner...

India U-16's first task in the group stage of the 2018 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) U-16 Championship was to get past a strong Vietnam side and they passed the test with flying colours.

Vietnam, coached by Vu Hong Viet, were the winners of the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) U15 Championship last year. They were trumped by another one of India's Group C rivals Indonesia this year in the AFF's regional tournament. It only goes on to show the severity of the challenge that Bibiano Fernandes and his team are faced with in Malaysia. 

It looked as if India gained confidence from Indonesia's stunning win against last year's runners-up and tournament heavyweights Iran in the first match of the group earlier in the day. India should have done much better in this game, given the dominance they enjoyed especially in attacking areas. 

India were all over the Golden Dragons right from the off and only a combination of profligacy in front of goal and goalkeeping brilliance from Nguyen Duy Dung prevented the underdogs from taking the lead.

The star of the show was Chandigarh Football Academy product Vikram Pratap Singh. He was a joy to watch in Bibiano's 4-4-2 against a lacklustre defence that struggled to deal with India's pace and tactics.

Everyone did their bit and that helped India switch gears at will. Ravi Rana and Ridge Melvin had the pace to burn on the flanks and with Givson Singh and Ricky Shabong forming a stable midfield partnership, India were able to dominate the pitch. 

However, profligacy is a concern and will be the major takeaways for the coach from the game. India could and should have won by a bigger margin and on a different day, the opponent could have clawed their way back into the game. Tougher tests against Iran and Indonesia await but for now, the Indian boys have opened their account in style.