TEHRAN: It’s time to ponder about the overall development of Indian football. Talked about in every circle at length, the pity stays it stays evident only away from home in AFC Championships whenever age-group teams play. But the eye never lies. Never! What you witness forces you to be optimistic about the future. Tuesday (September 25, 2012) was such.
As both the teams stood for the National Anthem ahead of India’s second match in the AFC U-16 Championship, the difference stayed evident. Blessed with better physique, the Syrians had looked invincible prior the kick-off; and once it kicked-off, their tactical and aggressive nature, further came into prominence.
But organisation caught them on the wrong foot – the Indian organisation all over the field. A true team effort all throughout the 90 minutes earned India their first point in the AFC U-16 Championship as India were held to a goalless draw by Syria. India stay very much alive in the Tournament at the moment.
The team effort which put up the organisation planned to perfection by Colm Joseph Toal, could have even earned India full three points if not the post had stood to deny Lalramzuava off a freekick and had some of those headers off setplays not conspired against India.
The start just couldn’t have been better. Not overawed by the physical presence of the Syrians, most of who were almost 6-feet, the nippy Indians played among themselves at a fast pace and restricted the game to the rival half.
The initial thrust almost paid dividends when in the sixth minute, captain Lalramzuava’s free-kick from the edge of the box beat all only to hit the post and bounce back. Three minutes later, rival goalkeeper Khaled Ibrahim gathered it in time before either Sarthak Golui or Uttam Rai could pounce upon.
The blocking in the midfield proved to be exceptional. The middle-four coordinated with the back four and the Syrians were getting frustrated. Further, the distribution into the vacant areas stretched them, the result of which in the 31st minute, the Indians came agonisingly close to netting one of many Lalramzuava’s curlers.
Three minutes later, striker Daniel Lalhimpuia got past the rival stopper but the latter recovered just in time to prevent Daniel from having a crack as the slate remained clean at the interval.
Changing over, Sryia pressed early and broke into the Indian box a couple of occasions within the first three minutes but the Indians regrouped.
In the 50th minute, a diving Khaled kept off a Alen Deory effort and the very next minute, Uttam Rai’s touch just got that bit longer as he had almost got past rival central defender, Jehad Bssmar, who stood tall almost throughout.
In the 73rd minute, Uttam broke past the entire defence but the Syrians managed to hold fort.
In the last 10 minutes, Syria went all out but the Indian organisation prevailed over their efforts.
India play their last Group League match against China on September 27, 2012.
INDIA: Supratim Bhattacharya; Myron Mendes, Sajid Dhot, Sarthak Golui, Gurba Gagrai; Alen Deory (Geremsha Basumataray – 74th), Germanpreet Singh, Lalramzuava (Nitin Jyal – 66th), Raja Rawat (Issac Vanmalsawma – 66th); Daniel Lalhimpuia, Uttam Rai.