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SAFF U-18 Championship 2017: Bhutan 0-3 India: Blues prey on hosts to notch up first win

10:39 PM SGT 22/9/17
India U18
After falling to Bangladesh in the opening game, the Blue Colts kept pace to register three points on board...

India U18s opened its account in their second league match against hosts Bhutan U18s in the 2017 SAFF Championships with a 0-3 win at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimpu on Friday.

Lalawmpuia (38' and 79') scored a brace while second-half substitute Asish Rai (90+1') ensured a return of three points for the Colts .

Head coach Floyd Pinto made a host of changes from the 3-4 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in the opening round. Jayananda Singh Moirangthem, Lalliansanga Renthlei, Lalengzama Vangchhia and Asish Rai were all dropped. Deepak Tangri, Abhishek Halder, Pranjal Bhumij and Namgyal Bhutia were ushered in.

It was all India from the word go as the hosts were left with no answer to their neighbour's prowess on the field. Abhishek Halder had the first real chance of the game when his shot kissed the woodwork in the 19th minute.

However, Lalawmpuia squandered a golden opportunity to go 1-0 up in the 26th minute as the Mizoram-born failed to convert from a penalty kick. He made amends though as he slotted the ball right past the 'keeper after the Bhutanese defense was unable to clear the danger inside their own box from a flag-kick.

Deepak Tangri could have doubled the lead but the Bhutanese 'keeper kept his point-blank header at bay just before the lemon break.

Roshan Singh Naorem and Lalrindika Edmund combined to put fear into the opposition's backline again but the latter's shot hit the rebound just wide. 

Lalawmpuia doubled his tally and the team's when his solo run left his markers for dead and a 25-yard shot saw the back of the net. The FC Goa junior player went level with Bangladesh's Jafar Iqbal to top the goalscoring charts with three goals in two games.

Bhutan were simply no match for the young Blues who sealed the game in the dying embers of injury time through Asish Rai, who made a case of re-inclusion into the starting eleven for the next match against Maldives on 25 September.

India are now placed third on the table with a further two games to go.

The starting XI for India U18 today:

Aditya Patra (GK), Deepak Tangri, Sahil Panwar (C), Abhishek Halder, Namgyal Bhutia, Lalrindika Edmund (Ashish Rai 75’), Lalawmpuia, Zonunmawia, Roshan Singh Naorem, Pranjal Bhumij, Princeton Rebello (Bodo Baoringdao 87’)