AFC U-16 Qualifiers: India rout Bahrain
by Shubham Sharma
Tashket: The Indian national football team defeated Bahrain by 5-0 here at the Transport Institute Stadium on Friday to win the straight second game of the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers.
Striker Sridarth and winger Shubho Paul were the MVPs for the team of the day, scoring a brace each, while Bahrain keeper Mohamed Hasan Jaafar scored an own goal in the first half to make it five. With this win, the India U-16 boys are on a 13 game winning trot.
India drew the first blood through striker Sridarth, when he beat the offside trap and was played through on goal by Yoihenba. The attacker, who was one-on-one with the keeper, buried it into the bottom corner, to give India the lead within the first five minutes.
India looked for more goals and got their second goal through opposition goalkeeper Mohamed Hasan Jaafar, whose blunder on a cross by Pritam Meetei turned into a goal.
Sridarth continued on his red hot form again, as he made an entry into the Bahrain box, and slotted it past the keeper to make it three-nil.
Shubho Paul added another to the account on the stroke of midway mark as he made an interception inside the Bahrain area, dummied an opposition defender and buried the ball into the bottom corner.
The opposition put up a better contest in the second half but the damage was already done. India boss Bibiano Fernandes brought on physical striker Himanshu Jangra on for Sibajit Singh, while he opted to go with the hard-working Ratanbi in place of Taison Singh. Meanwhile, Isac Zomuanpuia came on for Sridarth, to bring some variation to the set-pieces.
With about 15 minutes of regulation time to go, Shubho stepped up again, after Jaafar spilled another ball as the former chipped it into the net.
The Blue Colts could have turned it into half dozen in added time, when Shubho was played in via an aerial through ball and volleyed his shot onto the post. The rebound effort by Isac went inches wide.
With this win India now move on to six points in the group, having scored an astounding 10 goal difference from their two victories and all set to face hosts Uzbekistan in the final encounter.