I was confident that I would save the penalty: Niraj Kumar

I was confident that I would save the penalty: Niraj Kumar


            The clock struck the 76th minute mark at the Bukit Jalil Stadium of Kuala Lumpur, Alireza Bavieh took a run from the penalty spot and struck the ball. But he was left jaw-dropped as he saw a young Niraj dive to his right to block the shot. Penalty saved!


            The match turned out to be a goalless encounter and India walked away bagging a well deserved point.


            Niraj Kumar has shown how one can become hero for the team even though standing at the last line of field. His long throw in the previous encounter against Vietnam was what became a penalty and led to full three points in India's account, and he continued to hog the limelight against Iran with his heroic save.


            But Niraj believes it was already known to him that he was going to save it.


            “I was confident that I would save the penalty,” he laughed.


            “We were playing at a rhythm in the match and I had that confidence and the team support behind me,” he added.


            “It is always a challenge to face Iran and we had to be on our toes defensively to put up with their swift forwards.”


            India will next face Indonesia in the final group stage encounter. A mere draw will take India to the next round of the AFC U16 Championship 2018.

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