AFC U-23 Qualifiers 2019: Wasteful India go down to Uzbekistan.
by Shubham Sharma
Tashkent: India U-23 started their AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers 2019 campaign with a loss to hosts Uzbekistan here at the Pakhtakor Central Stadium today. The White Wolves scored three past Indian defence as India ended up being wasteful upfront.
Both the teams begin well initially, the hosts although imposed a dominant brand of football with lots of passing and buildup but the Indian defence allowed no clear cut opportunities to the opponents. India on the other hand tried to sting the Uzbeks on the counter. Anwar Ali played a ball to Rahul KP on the right flank who dished out a cross to Daniel Lahlimpuia but the Delhi Dynamos forward was unable to connect to the cross.
Anirudh Thapa had a great opportunity to give India the lead when a mess up around the penalty box gave Rahul an opportunity to pass the ball in the space to the Chennaiyin midfielder and the latter was in a one-on-one situation with the Uzbek custodian but the latter was unable to drive the ball home past the keeper who made himself big to save the shot.
India had few great opportunities that could have put them at least 2-0 ahead in the first half but the forwards turned out to be wasteful. India received a blow near the halfway through the match when Gaurav Bora fouled Alijanov Ilkhamjon inside the box. Uzbek skipper Islomjon Kobilov scored from the spot to put the hosts ahead.
In the second half India tried to attack harder but the Uzbeks did not seem to be allowing any chance to the Indian attackers. India committed a blunder in their own half as a miss pass lead to Bobir Abdoxilikov scoring the second of the evening for the hosts. He later scored another tapin to make the scoreline 3-0 in the favor of the hosts.
India will face Tajikistan in the final game of the tournament on 24th March.