AFC U-16 Championship

AFC U16 Championship: Neeraj Saves the day as India hold mighty Iran

Indian colts played a goalless against dominant Irani side at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to grab a point out of nothing curtesy to goal keeper Neeraj Kumar who pulled out an excellent penalty save in 75th minutes and pushed India to remain in this crucial match.

Otherwise, Bibiano Fernandes’ side stood tall against dominant central asian side to force them to share points. Indian lads sticked to the defensive plan throughout the game and kept clearing away all the moves created by Iran side. Iran, who had the most of the ball’s possession in the either half of the game, created a pool of chances but poor final third performance laid them down.

Credit to Indian busy defense who maintained their defensive shape and came up strong to a much superior attacking unit.

Iran had the best chance to win the match from a spot kick when a foul was committed inside the box. But Indian custodian, tall Neeraj Kumar guessed it right and came up with a sensational save to stop India going into any deficit.

India almost found the net in stoppage time when Lalchhanhime Sailo broke free in the middle but he fired his effort just wide as the match ended goalless.

In the post-match press conference Indian coach looked satisfied with the performance and he feels like his team is getting better in terms of playing together.

“We knew it will be difficult playing against Iran as we have seen them playing against Indonesia and even though they lost their opening game, it will be very difficult, so it was. We’re happy with the one point. I feel my team is getting better in terms of playing together and creating more chances at the end especially and I hope we can continue to improve.” Bibiano Fernandes said.

A hard-fought point is proved to be a big point as India can now look forward to knockout stage of the competition. Nevertheless, a final matchday round is still to go and a point against Indonesia would be enough for India to go through next stage of the competition.

About the author

Sitanshu Saran

A lawyer unintentionally turned in a sports writer.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *