India defeat Turkmenistan 3-0 in final AFC qualifiers group game


Indian U-19 ended their AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Turkmenistan in the last match of Group D


Second half strikes from Skipper Amarjit Singh (74’), Abhishek Halder (80’) and Edmund (90+2) proved to be the difference between the two sides in a match largely dominated by the Indian colts.

India started off aggressively as the young colts dominated possession in the final third creating few close chances. The big chance came in the 13th minute when Rahim Ali’s rasping shot from inside the box got blocked by the Turkmenistan’s defence before rolling towards their custodian for an easy save. Seven minutes later, Ali was at it again, however this time as well his shot was saved by the opposition custodian.

India continued domination and came close to opening the lead when in the 26th minute, Amarjit set up Nongdamba Naorem whose shot from outside the box went inches wide of the goal. Despite the domination in the first half, both teams went into the tunnel on level pegging as the score read 0-0.

The second half began with the same vigour for Indians and in the 51st minute it almost paid off when Boris Singh, after playing a one-two with Abhishek Halder, got clear on to goal only shoot wide of the post. However at the other end against the run of play Turkmenistan almost took the lead but the final shot rattled the crossbar. Two minutes later on the other end of play, Anwar Ali’s powerful header off a Sanjeev Stalin corner went inches over the crossbar.

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An end to end game began as soon Dheeraj was called in to action, as the custodian pulled off a spectacular save to keep Turkmenistan from scoring after Anwar Ali had lost his marking player. However, just when it looked like Turkmenistan is beginning to control the game, India came back with a goal. In the 74th minute, India took the lead after Amarjit Singh blasted the ball home to make it 1-0.

Five minutes later Abhishek Halder doubled the lead after he tapped the ball into an empty net following an accurate cross from the right flank. Turkmenistan looked to go all out attack in the final moments of the game. The move eventually gave India its third goal as Edmund converted a counter-attacking move to finish the game at 3-0

The game ended with India earning four points in three matches of their AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers with a third place finish in the group D and out of the qualifications race.

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