India colts lose narrowly to Uzbekistan in AFC U-17 Asian Cup

In their second Group D match of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup, India suffered a 0-1 defeat against Uzbekistan at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand. The lone goal of the match was scored by substitute Mukhammedali Reimov.

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India’s head coach, Bibiano Fernandes, made one change to the starting lineup, replacing Akash Tirkey with striker Thanglalsoun Gangte. The match against Uzbekistan was quite different from India’s previous encounter with Vietnam. The Uzbekistan team appeared confident, having held defending champions Japan to a 1-1 draw in their last game. They dominated possession in the first half, while India’s attempts to launch counter-attacks were frequently foiled.

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India’s goalkeeper, Sahil Poonia, was called into action early in the 12th minute when Oybek Urmonjonov unleashed a long-range shot. India mostly focused on defending and absorbing pressure within their own half, as Uzbekistan applied continuous pressure. Nevertheless, India’s defense managed to keep the Uzbek attackers outside the penalty area, limiting their attempts to long-range shots.

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Sherzodbek Abdulboriev and Ollabergan Karimov came close to scoring for Uzbekistan, but their efforts narrowly missed the target. India’s first significant chance came just before the half-hour mark when Lalpekhkua Ralte initiated a swift counter-attack and delivered an aerial cross from the left to Korou Singh at the far post. Singh struck a well-executed left-footed volley, but it was saved by Uzbekistan goalkeeper Muhammadyusuf Sobirov.

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In the closing stages of the first half, Uzbekistan’s Shodiyor Shodiboev had a great opportunity to score as he manoeuvred past his marker and struck a left-footed shot towards the bottom corner, but it narrowly missed the near post. India’s striker, Gangte, worked hard up front but struggled to make an impact. However, he created hope for India in injury time when he blocked Sobirov’s clearance, resulting in the ball rolling across an open goal, but Sobirov managed to collect it just in time.

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Danny Meitei had one final attempt for India in the first half when Vanlalpeka Guite played him through the lines, but his shot went straight at the goalkeeper. India showed more energy in the second half, although Uzbekistan maintained the majority of possession. Shortly after the restart, substitute Dilshod Abdulaev came close to scoring with a header, but it went wide.

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Fernandes made a few changes, bringing on Rohen Singh for Lalpekhlua Ralte in the 57th minute, and later making a double substitution with the introduction of Shashwat Panwar and Akash Tirkey in place of Thanglalsoun Gangte and Danny Meitei in the 63rd minute. Akash’s entrance injected some life into India’s game as he sought to link up with Ricky on the left and create opportunities. However, it was Uzbekistan who took the lead in the 82nd minute when substitute Mukhammedali Reimov scored with a right-footed volley.

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The goal shifted the momentum of the match, with India searching for an equaliser. In the last minute, a free-kick from the left was delivered to the near post by Gogocha Chungkham, targeting Shashwat, but his left-footed flick towards the far post lacked precision, allowing Uzbekistan to secure the win.

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