AFC U-19 C'ships qualifiers: India out of reckoning after Saudi hammering

With defeats in the opening two matches of the Group F qualifiers, Floyd Pinto's India is out of the reckoning for the AFC U-19 Championship qualification.

Ninthoinganba Meetei posed problems for the host but it wasn't enough for India to earn a positive result.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

India bowed out of the race for the 2020 AFC U-19 Championships qualification after a 0-4 defeat to Saudi Arabia here on Friday.

The home side opened the scoring in the second minute as forward Mohammad Khalil Marran latched on to a loose ball and put it past Indian custodian Prabhsukhan Singh Gill.

Saudi Arabia made it 2-0 in the 10th minute as midfielder Ahmad Albassas got on the end of a cross from the left flank by Hazzaa Alghamdi.

As India head coach Floyd Pinto’s side pushed forward to reduce the deficit, Albassas scored his second of the game in the 18th minute at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium on Friday.

He completed his hat-trick in the 28th minute, once again converting a low cross from the left flank as Saudi Arabia broke forward in numbers on the break.

Ninthoinganba Meetei posed problems for the host throughout the first half down the wing with his pace and guile, earning multiple free-kicks from attacking positions. He came closest to scoring two minutes before the half-time break but his powerful shot went just wide of the post.

India made a personnel change at the break with Manvir Singh coming on for Ricky Shabong. Manvir almost made an instant impact as he raced towards the by-line down the right and put in a cross that just evaded Vikram Pratap on the far post in the 47th minute.

In its final group stage match, which has been rendered inconsequential, India will face Afghanistan at the same venue on Sunday.

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