India and Indonesia both advanced to the quarter-finals of the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 after playing to a fierce 0-0 draw in their final Group C tie at the National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. India maintained their clean sheet record for the 3rd straight match even as the Indonesians kept coming hard at them resulting in nail-biting moments.
India had to desperately avoid a defeat as Iran scored 5 against Vietnam in the other match. A loss here could mean that Iran and Indonesia would go through but it wasn’t to be as the Blue Tigers held their nerve in crunch moments.
Both finished on five points with Indonesia topping the group and they will face the Group D runners-up in the last eight while India will face the winners.
Indonesia had opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Islamic Republic of Iran and settled for a 1-1 draw against Vietnam while India had beaten Vietnam 1-0 in their first match and shared the spoils with Iran in a 0-0 draw.
Backed by their partisan fans, Indonesia pressed their opponents early and had a look at goal in the second minute when David Maulana found space at the top of the box but the Indonesian captain fired his effort high.
India replied in the fourth minute when Ridge Melvin Demello made a darting run on the left and picked out Vikram in the box but the forward couldn’t keep his header down.
Indonesia continued to play a high pressing game as they attacked India from all fronts but the young Blue Tigers stayed sturdy at the back.
In the 17th minute, India tested Indonesia when Ravi Bahadur Rana surged down the left and sent a cross to Demello, whose effort was blocked by Indonesia custodian Ernando Ari Sutaryadi.
Ernando kept India at bay in the 21st minute after foiling Givson Singh Moirangthem’s cross from the left which was intended for Partap who was lurking in the box.
Indonesia then picked up the tempo and in the 27th minute, Amiruddin Bagus Alfikri tried to dribble his way into the box but was met with heavy resistance and two minutes later Sutan Diego Armansoondriano and Mochammad Supriadi combined to stretch the India defence but goalkeeper Niraj Kumar was quick to intervene.
Indonesia kept pressing forward and came close to finding the net after Bagus advanced into the box but he pulled his effort wide as the score remained 0-0 at halftime.
India dominated the opening 20 minutes of the second half as they reduced Indonesia to counter attacks as both teams fought hard for the opening goal.
Bibiano Fernandes’ side came close to finding the net through Bahadur Rana’s free-kick in the 60th minute which forced a save from Ernando.
Indonesia tried to force their way into the box as they found it hard to break down their opponents and were awarded a free-kick in the 75th minute but Rendy Juliansyah fired his effort high above the bar. Indonesia were again on the offensive in the last moments of the match earning back to back corners but failed to score as both teams settled for a point each.