India U16 1-2 Mongolia: Indian girls go down fighting

Mongolia came from behind to beat India with goals from Gantamur and Khulangoo.

India U-16 women's football team poses for the cameras before kick-off against Mongolia.   -  the-aiff.com

In extreme weather conditions, the average temperature hovering around zero degree Celsius for the last couple of days, India U-16 girls staged a gritty display but still came up short against host Mongolia, which prevailed 2-1 at the MFF Stadium in Ulaanbaatar on Friday.

India relinquished top spot in group B with this result, Laos leading the group by three points having played the same number of matches (three). Laos has nine points from three matches and will face India in the final fixture of the group on Sunday.

A win against Laos will be enough for India to advance to the second round of qualification thanks to a better head-to-head record.

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Aveka gave India an early lead, inside six minutes, silencing the home crowd. A rash challenge on Anju just outside the box earned India a free-kick and Aveka curled it over the Mongolian wall and found the back of the net.

The Mongolians looked more vulnerable at the start, but turned the course of the match quickly and carried a goal threat from both flanks. India's joy was cut short at the half-hour mark, when midfielder Gantamur scored from close range.

Towards the end of the half, India got back-to-back chances to regain the lead but the resilient Mongolian defenders came to the team's rescue on a couple of occasions.

On the counter attack, Aveka lobbed a long ball to an onrushing Sunita, whose pass was intercepted by a defender before it could find Shilky inside the box in the 42nd minute.

In the first half added time, Anju hit the woodwork with a low volley as the girls headed to the changing room with the scoreline locked 1-1.

Aveka came close to scoring a brace in the 53rd minute but her right-footed grounder was tipped away by the Mongolian goalkeeper Khaliun.

A defensive lapse from India gifted Mongolia its second goal in the 70th minute, when Khulangoo scored from close range.

Aveka was brought down on the edge of the box again, but this time she couldn't repeat the trick as her nimble free-kick jammed into the goalie's gloves.

India pushed for an equaliser late on but the Mongolians dug deep to leave with all three points eventually.

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