The India Under-23s wrapped up their exposure trip Down Under in some style, registering an emphatic 4-0 victory over Rydalmere Lions FC, at the Valentine Sports Park in Sydney today, August 31.
Farukh Choudhary (6′, 38′) bagged a first-half brace before super-sub Manvir Singh (74′, 77′) added two more in three minutes to hand India a comfortable victory.
India, during their preparatory camp in Sydney, won two of the three friendly games against APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC (August 25) and Rydalmere Lions FC (August 31), whereas they went down fighting against reigning A-League premiers champions Sydney FC (August 28).
Farukh did not take more than six minutes to find the back of the net when he converted a long cross from Sajid Dhot from the heart of defence.
Four minutes later, Farukh created an opportunity for Ashique but the Lions defense intercepted to thwart the danger. Having enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, India came very close to doubling the lead quite a few times but the Rydalmere defense was up to the task each time.
Farukh delivered once again when he chased down a long ball from Chhangte to fire it from close range, leaving the hosts two down.
In the second half, the Indian coach opted to assess some fresh pair of legs and introduced Manvir, Nikhil and Vignesh while withdrawing Sumeet, Chhangte and Ashique respectively.
At the stroke of the hour-mark, Anirudh Thapa got a chance to get his name on the scoresheet as well, but his long free-kick sailed over the crossbar. It was the youngster’s last contribution to the game as Hitesh Sharma replaced him immediately.
Farukh then earned a spot-kick in the 73rd minute and Manvir made no mistake to place it calmly in the net, having outfoxed the goalkeeper completely. Then Vinit, who came on as another substitute two minutes later, got hold of the ball in mid-field and crossed it over the defender’s reach for the Punjab-born striker. He slammed his second to send the Indian dugout into delirium.
After registering the authoritative victory, the Indian contingent will now head to Bangladesh to compete in the SAFF Cup 2018 where they face neighbours Sri Lanka in their opening fixture on September 5.