India defeat Fenerbahce in buildup towards AFC U-16 Championship qualification

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Bibiano Fernandes' boys are on an exposure trip to Turkey after winning the SAFF U-15 Championship

The U-16 Indian national football team followed up Monday's 7-0 win over Keciorengucu FC with a 6-3 result against Fenerbahce in a friendly played in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday. 

The Blue Colts are currently preparing for the 2020 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) U-16 Championship Qualifiers that will be held later in September in Uzbekistan, where they will face Bahrain, Turkmenistan and the hosts from Group B.

Sridarth Nongmeikapam (4’, 5’, 33’, 53’) scored four times including a first half hat-trick alongside Shubho Paul's (12’, 30’) brace for the Indians. Arda Chakirli (14’), Dogukan Tarlaek (37’) and Utku Buyukkose (52’) were on target for the Turkish giants.

Bibiano Fernandes persisted with the same 11 that defeated Nepal 5-0 in the final of the 2019 SAFF (South Asian Football Conferation) U-15 Championship final in August.

Sridarth took advantage of a goalkeeping error despite a wayward delivery by Yoihenba Meitei as India broke the deadlock in the fourth minute and turned it to 2-0 off a Sibajit Singh through ball in the very next minute.

A few minutes in, Shubho joined the party with a curling shot and another strike at the half-hour mark that sandwitched Fenerbahce's goal by Chakirli.

India Sri Lanka 2019 SAFF U15 Championship

After Sridarth's hat-trick, courtesy of Maheson Singh's set up, the Turks scored twice through Tarlaek and Buyukkose to bring the scoreline to 5-3 by the 52nd minute.

However, Sridarth's apetite would have only fulfilled after bagging his fourth of the evening by converting of Maheson's cross from the right.

Fenerbahce were much better in the second half and had a chance to reduce the margin of defeat when Anish Mazumder gave away a penalty. But Aman Kumar Sahani had other plans as the Indian custodian denied Yunus Emre Kantar from the spot, aided by Paogoumang Singson to clear the remains.

Fernandes' boys are now on a 11-match winning streak and until their win over Keciorengucu, had not conceded a single goal. From among their trips to Italy and Thailand before winning the U-15 SAFF title, the team has scored 58 goals and let in seven in their last 11 games.

Next stop, the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers in Uzbekistan. India's last appearance in the finals of competition was in 2018 edition where they bowed out from the quarterfinals but had made massive strides in terms of performance under the same coach.
 

India XI: Aman Kumar Sahani (GK), Pritam Meetei Sorokhaibam, Paogoumang Singson, Anish Mazumder, Amandeep; Sibajit Singh Leimapokam, Yoihenba Meitei Sukham (C), Maheson Singh Tongbram; Shubho Paul, Sridarth Nongmeikapam, Taison Singh Loitongbam

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