AFC U-23 Championship : Uzbekistan beat to India with 2-0
DHAKA(AIFF/N4C Sports)- Football can be so much deceptive. Two goals in the last four minutes against Asian giants Uzbekistan ranked 72 in the World can only bring lament.
Despite all those series of attacks, corners, chances, those typical moments of your hand going over your head, India U-23 team returned to their Dressing Room heads down, empty handed.
Two lapses, first by Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh who failed to collect a routine gathering off a corner in the 87th minute, the ball popping out of his hands for Boburbek to gleefully head t in; and then that moment of doubt whether to clear or maybe build from back in injury time cost India U-23 dear in the opening match of the AFC U-23 Championship at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka. India lost 0-2.
In between, there were chances for India in both the halves, some long rangers, viciously taken corners, all in continour periods of domination. Even as the general sentiment in the Stadium stayed that Uzbekistan managed to escape, it was their character and managing to keep their concentration for 95 minutes (five minutes of injury time) that saw them through. Football can never be deceptive.
“You need to utilize the chances that come your way. Yeah, two mistakes cost us the match. But I am proud of the manner my boys fought,” Head Coach Savio Medeira stated at the post-match Press Conference.
National Coach Stephen Constantine watched all minute details from the Stands. He is the first Indian Coach in many recent years to have been monitoring a Youth level Tournament unlike many of his predecessors.
Post match, there was a very welcome guest in front of the Indian Dressing Room, Syed Nayeemuddin. The sole individual to win an Arjuna Award and a Dronacharya Award at the same time, Nayeem exchanged pleasantries with both Constantine and Medeira. “Well played. Boys played really well.
Hard luck,” he mentioned. Nayeemuddin is presently in Dhaka to Coach Brothers Union Football Club.
The Indians settled down better as the game progressed. In the first half, rival Goalkeeper Akmal Tursunbaev stayed busy thwarting Germanpreet Singh and Jayesh Rane from a distance. Holicharan’s speed and ability to hold on trouble the Uzbeks all throughout. He had possible the best chance in the first half when he cut into the box but his shot deflected for a corner.
In the 36th minute, Jayesh was fed by Avinash Rui Das but as he was about to pull the trigger, a timely tackle from behind played spoilsport.
Changing over, the Indians looked at times to opt for 4-4-2 — the numerical superiority in the midfield allowed them to dominate and manouvre. A series of attacks followed at the rival citadel, all threatening but it didn’t bring with it, the last laugh.
The surge all started in the 50th minute with Jayesh trying to lob it over Akmal but it sailed over. In the very next minute a thunderous drive from German was fisted away by Akmal. And then in the next minute, Jayesh sidestepped his marker but a diving Holicharan failed to make contact with the ball inside the box. The Uzbeks defended, the Indians attacked.
In the 60th minute, Holicharan with a sudden burst of speed caught the rival defence unaware but even as he entered the box with the two Central Defenders panting on his neck, his shot went wide.
Perhaps India’s best chance went abegging in the 72nd minute – Bikramjit Singh’s free header off Avinash’s corner in the 6 yard box narrowly missed the mark.
The introduction of midfielder Abbosbek Makhstalev turned the tide for the Uzbeks from 75th minute onwards. They hit the bar twice and all of a sudden the steam seemed to have run out for India.
“Uzbekistan are a much better tactical side and there were lapses of concentration on our part,” Medeira said later. “They kept pressing till the end.”
Two goals, very much avoidable, eventually made it 2-0 for the Uzbeks. Their winning mentality paid off.
Is Football deceptive? Or is it all about character?
INDIA: Aminder Singh (Captain); Pritam Kotal, Bikramjit Singh, Shankar Sampingraj, Deepak; Germanpreet Singh, Vinit Rai (Manish Bhargava – 79th) , Siam Hangal, Avinash Rui Das, Jayesh Rane, Holicharan Narzary (Thongkhosiem Haokip – 85th).