The Indian U-16 National Team went down fighting 0-1 against Russia in their opening clash of the BRICS U-17 Football Tournament at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa today (October 05, 2016)….

Lopatin Daniil’s third minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides in a match largely contested in the midfield, before Russia were reduced to 10 men in the second half, but stood strong to grab their first win of the BRICS U-17 Football Tournament.

The Russian Team freshly on the back of participating in the UEFA Development Tournament took the lead as early as the 3rd minute when a scuffle inside the Indian penalty box led Spartak Moscow’s Lopatin Daniil to bash home.

After suffering a nervy start, the Indian colts looked comfortable in possession as the game progressed and in the 24th minute a Boris cross from the right flank flew whiskers away from Aniket. Had Boris found Aniket, the latter would have been straight onto the Russian goal.

India’s custodian Dheeraj Singh made some top class saves to keep India in the match as the Indian Colts went into the tunnel at the half-way point trailing by a solitary goal to nil, with Russian custodian Sangare David called into action only once as thwarted Boris Singh’s ferocious shot away in the 31st minute.

A rejuvenated India emerged after the second half and immediately pressed for the equalizer and Amarjit Singh’s 48th minute strike, which went whisker past the post, bolstered Indian spirits.

Russia were reduced to 10 men in the 50th minute when midfielder Umiarov Nail was sent off for a back lunge on Amarjit Singh. In hopes of taking advantage of an extra man, the Indian attack force launched wave after wave of attack.

In the 53rd minute, Sanjeev Stalin’s freekick flew over the bar as India upped their ante. Three minutes later, Russian custodian made a world class save to deny Amarjit. In the 69th minute, substitute Aman Chhetri’s shot flew inches wide of the goal.

Although India penetrated the Russian half and kept the ball in the final third, failure to foster clear goal scoring opportunities left a hefty onus on the forwards to score from half chances. With Russia committing men in defence, the task became even more difficult.

In the 83rd minute, Komal Thatal’s curling shot from the edge of the Russian 18 yard box came agonizingly close to equalize the proceedings for India.

Despite Russia not registering a single shot on the Indian goal in the second half, the opponent defence did its job and stood strong to see off the match.

India’s starting XI against Russia: Dheeraj Singh (GK); Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Mohammad Rakip; Sanjeev Stalin, Suresh Singh (C), Ninthoi Meetei (81’ – Shubham Sarangi), Amarjit Singh, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia (59’ – Aman Chhetri), Abhijit Sarkar (38’ – Aniket Jadhav)