India U-23 beats Singapore 1-0 in friendly

The win was Constantine’s ninth international victory, the previous 8 being with the senior national team.

The team was keen to perform and used the match as a preparation for the forthcoming AFC U-23 Qualifiers in Doha later this month.   -  AIFF

Germanpreet Singh’s 80th minute strike gave the India U-23 side a 1-0 vicotory over Singapore U-23 in an international friendly game on Sunday.

Germanpreet, latched on a back-pass from Nanda Kumar and unleashed a left-footed strike that rocketed into the left top corner.

The win was Constantine’s ninth international victory, the previous 8 being with the senior national team. The match is also his fourth away victory in an international game.

Keen to use the match as a preparation for the forthcoming AFC U-23 Qualifiers in Doha later this month, Constantine made 5 substitutions.

“The boys were playing together for the first time ever in an international match. The manner they reacted pleases me. You need to consider the fact that they hadn’t a match played together as a team prior to this,” said Constantine.

“Winning an international friendly away from home is always pleasing. The fighting spirit was evident from the kick-off itself,” he added. “Technically we were better, we were fitter, we were stronger. We dominated but just couldn’t make the right move at the right time.”

“But we can’t get carried away. There is a lot of work still to be done, and as I said, we have learnt a few lessons too,” he reiterated.

The match began in a flurry with both teams not unable to seize the momentum early. But as the match progressed, India’s dominance was evident.

The back four, by the 10th minute itself were playing a high line as India with its relentless pressing and quick passes kept Singapore guessing.

India was awarded a free kick in the 14th minute from a prime position but Daniel Lalhlimpuia’s shot went just wide.  There was a golden chance in the 29th minute but Nanda Kumar’s strike missed the far post by a whisker.

Changing over, India started where it had left off. India dominated and a goal seemed inevitable, which finally came in the 80th minute.

Singapore pressed hard for the equaliser but the Indian defence stood resolute to deny the hosts any chance of a comeback. India could have doubled its lead in the 92nd minute but Germanpreet’s shot rolled out wide.