The Junior Tigers went down 3-2 to the UAE after a spirited display…

India went down to 3-2 to much-fancied United Arab Emirates in their opening game of the AFC Asian U-16 Championship played at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fotorda, Goa yesterday.

The hosts took a 2-1 lead into the break thanks to goals from Sanjeev Stalin and Boris Thangjam either side of Manea Aydh’s leveller. But, the visitors came back strongly with goals from skipper Majid Rashid and substitute Ahmad Fawzi to take the win.

Speaking after the game India boss Nicolai Adam was clearly disappointed with the way his side capitulated in the second 45. “I think we all have seen a very good first half from my team. In the second half UAE was very efficient. They played a style of football they have to play. When you win it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

The German refused to blame fatigue or whether conditions for the defeat and said it was down to poor decision-making instead. He was particularly critical of his team’s style of play after the break. “In the first half we have seen that we play in a certain style that responds to my job also to identify a playing style that suits India. We do not want to play high and long ball, I personally do not like that football. They played like that. When you get 3 points out of that style, than there is nothing to say against it. But we will not play like that for sure,” he explained.

Adam also bemoaned the lack of impact off the bench for his team saying, “We have game changers on the bench, but unfortunately not today. In Germany and Norway we have brought in players from the bench and they totally changed the game. But substitutions sometimes work and sometimes they don’t. Congratulations to UAE they worked for them.”

The India manager also brushed away criticism of his side’s poor finishing once again explaining how they had scored 50 goals in 19 matches on their European tour and said that it was just a bad day at the office for his frontmen. He also emphasised that it was important for his side to channelize the disappointment of this defeat to produce a more complete performance in the next game.

On the other hand, victorious manager Abdelmajeed Alnemer said he was surprised by the level of performance produced by the hosts. “We were not expecting the level India played today. In the first half some of our players did not play up to their mark. That’s what affects the whole team. But in the second half we came back well and adapted to the conditions,” he said.

Report by Khel Now Correspondent Ravish Narvekar from Goa . A true Football enthusiast & a die hard Liverpool fan. Ravish also enjoys travelling & he’s an avid foodie.