It’s always a pleasant feeling to see your team into the quarter-final spot that hasn’t been there for a long time. Yes, Indian men’s football team hit the headlines as they qualified for the AFC U-16 championship quarter-finals after a long gap of 16 years. Let’s take a moment to appreciate them for their efforts.
The boy showed some grit in a 0-0 draw against Indonesia in their final group game. Having settled for a draw, India still moved on to 5 points, which is their highest-ever points tally in any of their previous group stages of AFC Under-16 Asian Cup tournament. Their previous best was 4 points which the boys secured in 2002.
Having progressed to the next round, Bibiano Fernandes’ team will lock horns with South Korea in the quarter-finals of the prestigious tournament. If these bright young prospects pull off a sensational win and reach the semis then, they will attain a spot at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru next year, something which the boys will be aiming to take the centre stage.
As far as the game is concerned, Indonesia had the upper hand in moving the ball as they dominated possession and tried their best not to give India any breathing space to go for the counter-attack. Nonetheless, the Indian defenders did quite well and kept things under control.
With Indonesia having more of the ball, India had some good chances to spice it up on the counter. However, their poor finishing haunted them. Indian strikers might have had a bad day at the office but the defenders put on an impressive display in a no scoring encounter.
In the dying minutes of the game, Ridge Demello and Ricky Shabong got some good chances but failed to convert the easiest sitters for India. The young guns will be looking forward to approaching the semis against South Korea on October 1 by sorting out their woes in all aspects of the game.