India U-23 loses to Singapore U-23, ends tour 1-1

Ikhsan Fandi scored the decisive goal for the host from the penalty spot in the second half of the second game at the Choa Chu Kan Stadium in Singapore.

India U-23s did not deserve to lose the second game, according to coach Stephen Constantine.   -  AIFF Media

India U-23 lost its second friendly against Singapore U-23 1-0 to end its tour with a defeat after its victory three days ago. India is scheduled to travel to Doha for the AFC U-23 Qualifiers which starts on July 19.

Ikhsan Fandi scored the decisive goal for the host from the penalty spot in the second half of the game. He was brought down by Salam Ranjan Singh inside the box. Ranjan was later rushed to the hospital after a nasty challenge by a player; he had three stitches for a cut under the lip.

India missed a few opportunities to ensure its goal in both halves.

India coach Stephen Constantine was disappointed with the result. I thought the boys fought very hard but we lacked a bit of quality in the final third and it cost us in the end. However, I can say that we didn’t deserve to lose the game,” he said. “The objective is to find players for the senior team and there are certainly some players who if they continue the manner they are doing now have a serious chance to push for the senior national team,” he said.

India almost found the back of the net within first five minutes but Vishal Kaith gloved the long ball with much ease. In next two minutes, the Himachal Pradesh-born goalkeeper showed his character once again when he threw himself to save a point-blank range effort which was followed by a goal-line save by Lalruatthara.

Goal elusive

Manvir Singh, Nikhil Poojari and skipper Daniel Lalhlimpuia started to press the host hard but the opening goal stayed elusive for Stephen Constantine's boys in the first 45 minutes.

After the changeover, Indians came very close to scoring the opener but Nikhil's left-footer missed the target by a whisker. However, Ikhsan Fandi put the host ahead with the penalty.

With the clock ticking, Manvir took on his own to outrun the Singaporean defender before hitting the side-netting in the 76th minute. Seven minutes to the end of the regulation time, Alen Deory could have found the elusive equaliser for India but he mistimed his jump and failed to make a contact with the ball.

Manvir continued to impose threats towards the final minutes of the match but his inch-perfect pass in the 87th minute got wasted as Nikhil was caught offside.

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