The Junior Colts may have lost but they announced their arrival on the world stage with a truly competitive display.
India fell to a 1-2 loss to Colombia in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi in their second match of Group A at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Columbian attacker Juan Penaloza capitalized on two error in judgment from India and scored a brace which was enough for them to edge India, who went down fighting in an inspired performance.
Jeakson Thounaojam made history in the second half when he scored the equalizer and India’s first ever goal in a FIFA competition, but that wasn’t enough for the Blues to get anything out of the game. Luis Norton de Matos’ boy showed much improvement from the disappointing loss to USA and proved the potential in a proud showcase which indicates towards a bright future for the lads. So let us take a look at the player ratings of India’s game against Colombia in the second match-day of Group A.
Dheeraj Moirangthem (8.5/10)
Dheeraj Moirangthem proved himself to be one of the best finds of the tournament with another spectacular performance. Was extremely sharp in the first half, making some stunning saves of powerful shots to keep the hosts in the game. His distribution was really well and he showed brilliant reaction to keep the game from getting out of India’s hands. Was helpless to do anything about the goals. Deservedly won the FIFA “Star of the Match” award after a truly amazing performance which shows how the goalkeeping department of Indian football is in good hands.
Boris Thangjam (8/10)
Playing his first FIFA World Cup game for India, Boris made quite the impact in defense. He helped stabilize the defense and was an absolute rock at the back. He also contained the threat of Columbia’s Leandro Campaz brilliantly. Made some crucial tackles in the first half and also created two glorious opportunities to show his attacking talent. Took a knock in the second half even after which he continued to impress, before being eventually taken off for his own safety.
Namit Deshpande (6.5/10)
Another debutant for India, Namit Deshpande brought a lot of calmness to India’s defense on the day. Did his job pretty well and complimented Anwar Ali superbly in the heart of the Colts defense, often covering up for him and playing a safe game. Was unlucky to be beaten by Penaloza for the second goal as India were still reeling from the aftermaths of the celebration of their first ever goal.
Anwar Ali (8/10)
Anwar Ali really shone through against The Tri Colors, leading the defensive line for the young Tigers with much confidence. He was really strong on the ball and did not let himself be bullied by Colombia’s attacking talent. Ali was strong in the air and never seemed to miss a header from the barrage of crosses from Colombia. Made some amazing tackles and last-ditch clearances and looked to be in control of containing the attacking threat. Ali gave a memorable performance and asserted himself as one of the brightest talents in the country.
Stalin was given much more coverage on the left hand side due to a more packed midfield and getting some help from Rahul Kannoly on the left. But he was unable from stopping some dangerous cross coming in from the right and couldn’t react quickly to stop Penaloza from scoring the opener. Improved as the game progressed and seemingly gained a lot of confidence in the second half when he started attacking. Delivered a beautiful assist for Jeakson’s goal, in turn getting a place in the history books himself.
Amarjit Kiyam (6.5/10)
India’s captain had a better day than against the USA and found some support with the introduction of Jeakson and Rahul in midfield. Won the ball a couple of times in midfield and looked more composed on the ball on the day, retaining possession well and leading his team on the pitch. Could have done better to track back for the second goal, where he and the whole team slept off.
Jeakson Thounaojam (7.5/10)
Jeakson was given the start this time in place of Suresh Singh and repaid the faith put in by the coach on him. Provided a lot of cover in midfield and defense for the Colts and also linked with his fellow midfielders really well, while using his height and physical presence to his advantage. Created history for India when he scored the first ever goal for the country in a FIFA competition with a thumping header, proving why India needs more physical players like him.
Rahul Kannoly (6.5/10)
Rahul was made to change his position in the game, but showcased why he’s such a versatile player. Had an impressive game in midfield and helped to keep possession and give his defenders more cover to contain the attacking threat of Colombia. Was unlucky to see his stunning volley hit the cross-bar at the end of the first half. Was made to revert to a right-back role in the second half and struggled against Campaz due to exhaustion.
Ninthoinganba Meetei (7/10)
Meetei proved himself to be one of the most exciting players of the team with an electric display for the team. Helped out the midfielders and defenders to stop the constant pressure from Colombia and showed his incredible pace whenever he won the ball in the right-wing. Was a constant pain for the left-sided defenders of Colombia and also delivered some impressive crosses into the box which couldn’t be converted by the strikers.
Abhijit Sarkar (6.5/10)
Sarkar had a better game than what he did against the USA. He was more involved in the game as he decided to drop back a little to give more comfort to the midfielders. Showed good movement around the penalty area and almost scored the opening goal when he wheezed past the Colombian defense but saw his shot heroically saved by the opposition goalkeeper.
Rahim Ali (6.5/10)
Ali showed a ton of energy in this game as he was leading the line really well for India and was not letting Colombia’s defenders get comfortable at the back. Gave a lot of cover to his midfielders and often tracked back to the box to win back the ball for his team. Scored a goal in the second half, but unluckily it was judged as offside by the officials.
Full Match highlights: India 1-2 Colombia
Nongdamba Naorem (6/10)
Naorem almost made an instant impact for India after being substituted in as he wiggled his way past Colombia’s defender but should’ve done better with his finishing as his shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Showed moments of brilliance with the ball but couldn’t really conjure up anything else for the Blues.
Aniket Jadhav (6/10)
Was benched after having a disappointing game against USA. But showed signs of improvement when he showed some clever movement and gave a great pass to Naorem who almost scored from that. Tried to mount up attacks after that but was frustrated by the stubborn Colombian defense.
Kevin Meir (7.5/10)
Meir was not going to let it be a fairy-tale story for India as he continued to frustrate the fans and player alike with his brilliant saves. Made especially good saves of Abhijit and Naorem to keep his team in the game. Was calm in possession and always looked to be in control of the ball, rising up to the occasion whenever needed. Helpless to do anything about Jeakson’s powerful equalizer.
Andreas Cifuentes (6.5/10)
The Colombian right-back didn’t really have anyone to specifically mark as India opted to rest left-winger Komal Thatal for the game. Provided good support in the attack for the Tri Colors and made impressive overlapping runs. Cifuentes gave some good crosses which weren’t really capitalized on by his attackers and did his job fairly well.
Guillermo Tegue (6.5/10)
The strong defender was given the job of being Colombia’s last man in defense at many times when they piled on the players in the attack. Did well with his distribution and played out of defense really well, while also containing the threat of Ali and the rest of the Indian attackers whenever the opportunity arose.
Thomas Gutierrez (7/10)
The Colombian captain was made to play as a make-shift left-back many times when Campaz wandered off into the attack for the team. Was really confident on the ball and provided a pin-point cross-field ball to assist Penaloza’s first goal. The captain lead from the front and showed himself to be a rather impressive ball-playing defender with a commendable performance to earn an important win for his team.
Yadir Meneses (7/10)
The midfielder was all over the place for Colombia as he put in a solid effort for the Tri Colors. He showcased his impressive distribution throughout the game and decide to test the Indian goalkeeper with two vicious attempts in the first half which forced Dheeraj to make some stunning saves to keep out. Put in solid work in midfielder for Colombia and made sure they had the lion’s share of possession at all times.
Gustavo Carvajal (7.5/10)
Gustavo Carvajal was the man who held the defense and midfield of Colombia together throughout the match. He was not only a brilliant defensive midfielder who helped to destroy attacks and cover the defense really well, but his passing was pretty clever as well. Carvajal provided a really smart lobbed pass to Penaloza to score the winner for Colombia and never let India penetrate through the middle.
Fabien Angel (7/10)
Angel definitely stayed true to his name for his national side as he was given the role of the destroyer for the Colombian team. He was hard-hitting with his tackles and never let India get a control of the game in his team’s half. Made some brilliant last-ditch challenge to put a stop to some threatening Indian attacks and was always there to stop the counter-attacks and didn’t make it seem that Colombia were only playing with 3 defenders.
Leandro Campaz (7.5/10)
The tricky left-winger was always in the thick of things in the attack for Colombia as they looked to attack mainly through his wing. Did make life difficult for Boris who had to be sharp to keep him at bay and was in some very good positions even though he failed to convert them. Became a menace for India after Boris was substituted and continued to mount terrorizing attacks through the left-wing till the final whistle.
Deymar Cortes (6.5/10)
The Colombian forward didn’t have as good a day as he’d expect, finding it difficult to get past the strong Indian defense. He did drift into promising positions at times and create some chances for his team-mates, but he couldn’t really grow into the game before being substituted in the second half.
Juan Penaloza (9/10)
The Colombian attacker was an absolute nightmare for the Indian defence who had done decently to contain him in the first half. But Penaloza started to find his rhythm in the second half when he scored a brilliant opening goal out of nowhere for Colombia. He kept his composure and drafted in the ball into the back of the net instantly after India had scored to silence the crowd and make sure that Colombia would get all three points on the day thanks to his terrific performance.
Luis Lopez (6/10)
Lopez was rather ineffective in the game as he wasn’t really involved in any of the big opportunities for the South Americans in the game. Was crowded out by the Indian defence and couldn’t really improve as the game went on and was substituted in the second half.
Robert Meija (6/10)
Was brought in for the poor Cortes and couldn’t really improve in that department. Played a more defensive game after Penaloza scored the second goal and didn’t really get a sniff at goal during the time he was on the pitch.
Bryan Gomez (6/10)
Colombia’s No #10 was brought in to give some creativity to the midfield and almost got injured minutes after coming on. He did eventually recover from it and provided some good crosses into the box which weren’t really converted. Made an ambitious strike on goal in the dying minutes which forced a brilliant save from Dheeraj.