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SAFF Championship

India U-23 rally to beat APAI Leichhardt Tigers FC in Australia

3:48 PM SGT 25/8/18
Indian national team training in Australia
Sumeet Passi stole the show with a brace while Sajid Dhot was also on target for India

The Indian U-23 national team have defeated APAI Leichhardt Tigers FC 3-1 in a friendly fixture held in Australia, on Saturday.

The match was locked at 1-1 at half-time with Sajid Dhot (35') scoring the equaliser after APAI Leichhardt had broken the deadlock in the 22nd minute. Sumeet Passi (47', 57') went on to complete his brace in the second half to give India a comfortable win.

Stephen Constantine's side are in currently preparing for the 2018 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Cup that will be held in Bangladesh in September.

Passi's first attempt was blocked by the rival goalkeeper in the 15th minute and also had a goal ruled off-side in the 27th minute, which was moments after APAI Leichhardt scored from a direct free-kick in the 22nd minute.

Jerry Lalrinzuala, who was involved in a couple of moves alongside Isaac Vanmalsawma from early on, was unfortunate to see his shot come off the woodwork in the 34th minute but the despair didn't last long as Dhot nodded in Isaac's cross in the very next minute.

With the scoreline reading 1-1, five minutes to the end of the first half, Passi would miss the target once again after some good combination between Lalrinzuala and Isaac from the former's flag-kick that the latter created an opening from, from the left side.

Passi eventually breached the opponent's goal two minutes into the second half, latching on to an inch-perfect cross by Ashique Kuruniyan to put India ahead for the first time in the fixture.

Not long after, Passi made it 3-1 after a build-up that started right from India custodian Vishal Kaith, with Davinder Singh rallying the ball to Nikhil Poojary who provided the assist for the goal.

The Indian defence appeared to fare well against the onslaught of APAI Leichhardt in the ensuing minutes while continuing to create more chances in attack as well wherein Hitesh Sharma and substitute Vignesh D were involved in delivering the ball in the final third.

The Blue Tigers are also scheduled play A-League premiers Sydney FC besides another friendly against Rydalmere Lions FC on August 28 and 31 respectively. 


India U-23's starting XI vs. APAI Leichhardt: Vishal Kaith (GK), Davinder Singh, Sarthak Golui, Sajid Dhot, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Hitesh Sharma, Vinit Rai, Ashique Kuruniyan, Farukh Choudhary, Sumeet Passi.