In an half where India should have been at least 2-1 up, the India U-16 boys went back to the dressing room with their heads down at the interval. They were down by a goal at that time.
Much against the run of play, Redha Marhoon had put Bahrain in lead in the 20th minute when he slotted it past a diving Supratim Bhattacherjee from close. That was heartbreak for India at that stage. India had enjoyed territorial domination throughout; created openings and missed by a whisker twice.
“Re-start the match. Let the next 45 minutes define yourselves,” was Coach Thomas Joseph’s advice in the change room.
And it kicked-off.
Raja Rawat’s right-footer equalised proceedings for India in the 52nd minute and from there on they never looked back.
Eentually the winning goal came in the 72nd minute when a penalty was awarded after Lalramzuava’s free-kick was handed inside the box. Everyone wanted to convert it. Eventually, Mryon Mendes did.
In the Injury-time, Sajid Dhot’s sliding tackle assures ‘All is Well,’ as India beat Bahrain 2-1 in their second match of the AFC U-16 Qualifiers at the Transportation Institute Stadium in Tashkent. The victory takes India to the top of the table with 6 points from two matches while Bahrain stay on one point from two matches.
But it’s not just about the score; rather it’s the manner of play that defined the boys. The flow of crosses from both the flanks rattled the opposition; the quick interchanging and the wall passes in the midfield caught them on the wrong foot and the leadership qualities of the two centre backs – Sarthak Golui and Sajid Dhot further frustrated them. The stamina of the Indian boys was hard to match and the determination to win defined the proceedings.
India next play hosts Uzbekistan in their next match on October 5. Uzbekistan defeated Krygyzstan 7-0 in the other match of the day.
INDIA: Supratim Bhattacharjee,; Myron Mendes, Sajid Dhot, Sarthak Golui, Nabin Rabha; Harmanjot Singh (Suman Saha – 90th), Nitin Jyal (Muana – 53rd), Lalramzuava (C), Raja Rawat; Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Uttam Rai.