The Gulf side came from behind to win 3-2…

The United Arab Emirates beat hosts India 3-2 in the AFC Asian U-16 Championship match played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa earlier today.

India started in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation while the visitors persisted with most of the line-up that beat FC Bardez Goa in a recent friendly.

The hosts started the better side creating a flurry of attacks in the in the first 10 minutes and they opened the scoring in the 11 minute after a beautifully curled free-kick from the left of the penalty box by Sanjeev Stalin. Four minutes later it was UAE’s turn to respond, but a shot on goal was well-blocked by goalscorer Stalin to concede a corner. Much of the hosts’ good work came from Jadhav who initially occupied the right wing. In the 22nd minute the ball came to Aman Chhetri in the box after a midfield scrap, but his snapshot went narrowly wide of the far post with the keeper beaten.. Three minutes later some good build up play found Komal Thatal but his shot on the turn was straight at the UAE custodian.

Match Highlights

The game witnessed a frenzy of action just passed the half hour mark after India keeper Dheeraj brought down UAE’s Abdul Al-Naqvi to concede a penalty. However, he made amends by saving Majid Rahid’s effort. But, he came out flapping from the subsequent corner to allow Manea Aydh to sneak in to level matters. The Indians hit back almost instantaneously to retake the lead in the 35th minute. Jadhav went on a mesmerizing run down the left, got to the byline and found Boris Thangjam with a cutback and the winger calmly slotted into the top corner. Minutes, before the break Thatal could have extend the hosts lead but his shot went wide.

India totally dominated the first 45 with their more pedigreed opponents struggling to get many penetrative attacks into the backline. But, the scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection of their dominance.

Both teams started in calm fashion but on 52 minutes the UAE once again levelled against the run of play. Skipper Rashid’s long range effort was parried by Dheeraj into the path of Abdul Naqvi and his low cross into the box found Rashid who slid in to finish. The game once again settled into a riveting affair with both sides trading attacks. In the 58th minute, a Junior Colts free-kick was unconvincingly punched by the UAE’s shot-stopper and striker Aman Chhetri failed to keep his header on target from close range. Five minutes later there were two chances in quick succession at either end. The impressive Jadhav found Chhetri and his low shot went narrowly wide of the target. Rashid responded with a low drive that skimmed past the diving Dheeraj and the goal. In the 74th minute, the visitors completed their comeback after substitute Ahmad Fawzi finished into an open net following a neat one-two on the edge of the box.

After falling behind the Indians had the stuffing knocked out of them. Although they huffed and puffed there were few chances to equalize. The best of them came in the final minute of the 90, but Chhetri couldn’t connect with his strike. In added time the Gulf side had a couple of opportunity to extend their advantage but couldn’t make the most of them.

Nicolai Adam’s men will look back on their wayward finish and poor decision-making in the final third in reflection of this defeat. They dominated the first half but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. The UAE regrouped well after the break and closed down the hosts in midfield denying them space and once they took the lead they were more than happy to keep it.

Report by Khel Now-Content Editor Mrunal Nakashe. A sports buff, he’s also a foreign policy enthusiast and keen North Korea watcher. Mrunal loves gaming, reading, traveling and is a self-confessed Football Manager addict. You can follow him on Twitter.