India U-19 team beats Tahiti to finish first in OFC Developmental Tournament

Second-half strikes from Manvir Singh (71th minute) and Vikram Partap Singh (88th) proved to be enough for the Blue Colts to beat Tahiti.

The India U-19 team after beating Tahiti.   -  AIFF MEDIA

The Indian U-19 team on Friday got the better of Haiti 2-0 in the 1/2 place play-off of the Oceanian Developmental Tournament in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Second-half strikes from Manvir Singh (71th minute) and Vikram Partap Singh (88th) proved to be enough for the Blue Colts to have the last laugh against their Oceanic opponents.

Coach Floyd Pinto named the same starting XI that stormed past New Caledonia three days earlier to seal the 1/2 place play-off date with Tahiti.

Givson was given a free role at the heart of the midfield where Ninthoi’s agile movement down the flanks proved to be too much for the Tahitian defenders. In the third minute, Ninthoi volleyed from an acute angle, only to see it sail over the crossbar.

Givson and Ninthoi were trying tooth and nail to breach the Tahiti defence but the red outfit kept them at bay until the referee ended the first half.

India were unarguably the better side in the first 45 minutes having placed four shots on target out of total 12 attempts. On the other hand, Tahiti failed to create any real opportunity inside the 18-yard-box, thanks to India’s command in the midfield.

After the breather, Pinto introduced Gurkirat Singh in place of Aman Chetri in the attacking third, and he helped another substitute Manvir Singh score his first goal of the tournament.

Ninthoi, with his blistering pace, cut through the Tahiti defence from the middle and served it on a platter to Gurkirat, who found Manvir inside the six-yard-box and the latter did no mistake in steering a header past the goalkeeper.

India U19 Team: Prabhsukhan Gill (GK) (C); Mohd. Rafi, Jitendra, Bikash Yumnum, Sumit Rathi; Vikram Partap, Thoiba Singh, Ricky Shabong (Manvir Singh 71'), Ninthoi Meetei (Ravi Bahadur Rana 87'); Givson Singh (Jeakson Singh 86'); Aman Chetri (Gurkirat Singh 52').