Indian U-19 football team put in a good show to fight back from behind but ultimately succumbed to a narrow 2-1 defeat against Oman U-19 in a friendly in Turkey on Friday. The team has been playing a series of friendlies against nations and clubs to be in shape for the upcoming AFC Qualifiers.
Oman dominated proceedings in the first half, managing to keep the ball for long spells and ended the first half with higher possession. The Indian team seemed to be set up a bit more defensively but the opposition eventually managed to break through the shackles as they opened the scoring in the 34th minute.
The scoreline remained intact at half time but after the break, a rejuvenated Indian side started going forward and attacking with more rigour. A free-kick in the 53rd minute from Ninthoi almost found its way to the back of the net but Oman managed to maintain their lead. However, India’s efforts were finally rewarded when Robin was fouled inside the 12-yard box. The referee pointed to the spot and a composed Givson Singh stepped up to slot the ball home and draw score level.
Oman did not take long to recover the slender advantage as the Indian defense was breached yet again just 10 minutes later. No more goals came in the match and despite their best efforts, India had to settle for a defeat. They will have a chance to avenge the loss a couple of days later when they face Oman in another friendly on July 22. It will be followed by a match against Jordan U-19 on July 24 and then a final friendly of the series against local club FC Kocaelispor on July 27.
India has been drawn in a group with Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan for the qualifiers. It will begin its campaign on the sixth of November against Uzbekistan.