A spirited and competitive India went down 0-1 to the USA in their opening fixture of the Sportchain Friendlies at the FACSA Sports Centre in Benicassim, Spain today, April 16.
The first half was competitive in nature with both teams vying hard for the ball. The first real chance of the game went to India when the boys earned a corner in the 4th minute, but the subsequent effort didn’t trouble the scorers.
USA had a chance of their own to take the lead in the 20th minute but Niraj Kumar made the save to keep things level. USA earned a corner few minutes later but the defense was on hand to make the clearance.
Ridge Melvin was introduced as Bekey Oram made way for him in the 29th minute, with both teams trying to control the midfield as the teams headed 0-0 into the break.
India began the second half on an explosive note as Gurkirat had two back to back opportunities to take the lead. The 36th minute saw Gurkirat miss from a one-on-one situation with the keeper while a minute later he dribbled past three, only to hit it straight towards the keeper.
Vikram had a golden chance to get the breakthrough after he rounded the keeper but he hit off target in his excitement. The flurry of attacks shook the US teams as they grinded their way back into the match.
A couple of corners were dealt with before Niraj was pressed into action. A couple of saves in the 46th and 47th minute kept India into the game. Rohit Danu was taken off as Ravi Bahadur Rana was introduced by the Coach at the 50th minute mark in search of the elusive goal.
India had a couple of more opportunities in the next few minutes as they had a hold on the proceedings but all that momentum went into waste when USA struck in the 58th minute to take the lead.
Ravi Bahadur Rana had the chance to equalise immediately but the young lad missed a sitter with an open net in front of him. India kept the pressure intact as Lalrokima came on in place of Ricky to bolster the attack.
The final opportunity too came India’s way as Givson had a crack at the goal in the 69th minute but his shot was saved by the keeper as India went down 1-0.
The India U-16 boys will next take on Norway on Wednesday, April 18 at the same venue.
India U16: Niraj Kumar – Shabas, Gurkirat, Harpreet Singh, Moirangthem Thoiba [C], Ricky (66’Lalrokima), Givson, Sailo, Bekey (29’Ridge Melvin), Vikram, Danu (50’Ravi Bahadur)