India U-23 draw series 1-1 with a narrow 1-0 defeat against Singapore
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The Indian U-23 team lost one goal to nil against Singapore after conceding an early second half goal on Wednesday.
The match started with great composure from the hosts as the Indians could not cope up with the high pressure from the Singaporean side well in the early minutes of the first half. However, few moments of individual brilliance from Manvir Singh and Anirudh Thapa kept India into the game and helped the Blue Cubs to slowly come back to their usual self.
In the 7th minute, Singapore created a great chance for themselves as a cross disturbed Indian goalkeeper Vishal Kaith and could have gone in if it was not for the Indian defending duo Salam Ranjan Singh and Lalruatthara.
Indian starlet Anirudh Thapa tried to go on a solo run in the 12th minute but was brought down by Singaporean defender Faisal as the ball went out of the pitch.
The Indians could not cope up with long balls and diagonals well against the well-organized Singapore side as Daniel Lalhlimpuia wasted chances of getting an early lead in the early first half.
Manvir Singh displayed fine hold-up play abilities in the first half as Indian captain Daniel Lalhlimpuia was marked tight by the Reds’ defenders well and could not move towards the ball as expected.
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Among the other Indian players, Nikhil Poojary posed a constant threat to the Singapore defence as the young winger made several forward runs down the right wing but could not contribute to the scoresheet in the first half.
The Reds were awarded a free kick just outside the Indian box in the 34th minute but Hanafi Akbar could not find the back of the net as his shot went wide towards the far side.
The Indians put up a fight in the later parts of the first half but could not score the opening goal, courtesy to the Singaporean defenders.
The second half started rather unexpectedly for the Indian team as the hosts were awarded a penalty kick in the 50th minute. The Singaporean No. 20 Ikhsan Fandi committed no error putting the ball past Vishal Kaith and provided his side with a much-needed goal against India.
The second half displayed a much physical brand of football than it did in the previous one, which resulted in four free kicks in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Lallianzuala Chhangte created several chances in the second half for the Indians but could not get into the assists sheet for the positional errors of the Indian skipper Daniel Lalhlimpuia who was marked tightly by the Singaporean defenders.
The Indian full backs had a tough outing against Singapore as the hosts preferred aerial play against India which eventually got them a penalty and a goal. The aerial supremacy resulted in Singapore almost scoring the second of the evening in the 68th minute as Hanafi Akbar received a sideways pass from Pasha near the Indian box and shot the ball in the top right corner but Vishal Kaith saved the day for the Indian Blues.
India came close to equalising in the 76th minute when Manvir Singh received a pass from the right wing and made a solo run to the opposition box, shooting the ball just outside the nets in the process.
The last 10 minutes of the match saw Singapore creating an immense pressure on Indian defenders as Pasha went on several counter-attacking runs which resulted in Indians turning defensive in their moment of need.
Three minutes of additional time was added to the second half of the match but either of the team was unable to change the scoreline by any margin.
Published: Wed Jul 12, 2017 07:23 PM IST