India U-23 goes down to Sydney FC

India coach Stephen Constantine said that the 3-0 defeat offered India a "very good lesson".

India and Sydney FC players tussle for the ball during Tuesday's match.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India U23s staged a plucky display against three-time A-League champion and reigning A-League premiers champion Sydney FC, which won 3-0 in a friendly match played in Sydney today (August 28).

The star-studded Sydney FC had to wait till the 37th minute to open the scoring from Brosquey before Adam Le Fondre doubled the gap within six minutes. Indians threatened more after half-time but a low strike from Trent Buhagiar in the 86th minute put the match beyond any doubt.

Coach Stephen Constantine made five changes to the starting XI from the last match against APIA Tigers FC as Davinder Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Hitesh Sharma and Vinit Rai made way for Subhasish Bose, Salam Ranjan Singh, Nandha Kumar, Germanpreet Singh and Anirudh Thapa respectively.

As the coach predicted earlier, the host dictated the tempo from early on but its efforts were thwarted by the resilient Indian defence until the 37th minute, when Brosquey headed a cross from Michael Zullo home.

Six minutes later, renowned English attacker, Adam Le Fondre found the back of the net from a close range to double the lead before the teams headed to the dressing room.

After the breather, Constantine tweaked in three changes in the form of Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vinit Rai and Manvir Singh withdrawing Nandha Kumar, Germanpreet Singh and Farukh Choudhary respectively.

After the hour-mark, Ashique Kuruniyan came very close to breaking the deadlock but his shot was off target.

Indians started to push the A-League powerhouse further in its quest for the elusive goal but Trent Buhagiar added a third goal four minutes from time to record a comprehensive win.

Stephen Constantine felt it wanted a 'tough game' and this one was nothing less than a ‘very good lesson’ for the team.

"We knew very well that it was going to be a tough test against a terrific team and certainly, it was. Our boys were a little surprised with their speed and constant movement but overall, it was a very good lesson for us", he added further, "We got better as the game progressed and created a few opportunities as well. Overall, we wanted a tough game and we were presented with one. Now, we know more about ourselves as a team and of course, as individuals."

India is scheduled to play its third game Down Under against Rydalmere Lions FC on Friday (August 31) at 12:30 PM IST.

India: Vishal Kaith (GK), Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sajid Dhot (Jerry Lalrinzuala 57'), Nandha Kumar (Lallianzuala Chhangte 46'), Germanpreet Singh (Vinit Rai 46'), Anirudh Thapa (Hitesh Sharma 80'), Ashique Kuruniyan, Sumeet Passi (C), Farukh Choudhary (Manvir Singh 46').

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