India U-19 seals 1-0 win over Vanuatu

Indian under-19 boys got off to a winning start in the OFC Developmental Tournament with a win over host nation Vanuatu.

Sumit Rathi's winning strike meant India started its OFC Developmental Tournament on a good note.   -  AIFF Media

Sumit Rathi's 78th-minute strike earned the Indian under-19 team a 1-0 win against host Vanuatu in its opening fixture of the OFC Developmental Tournament 2019 at the Korman Stadium in Port Villa, Vanuatu on Sunday.

Coach Floyd Pinto opted to field four defenders at the back as Aman Chetri was put upfront in the attacking third. Chetri rattled the crossbar in the third minute of the match, and off the rebound, he took another attempt from close range but it was parried away.

Vikram and Givson kept the Vanuatu defender on their toes but the hosts managed to not leak any goals in the first half.


After the break, India earned back-to-back corners in quick succession but to no avail. Coach Pinto, having put in Gurkirat Singh at the expense of Aman Chetri, tweaked in his strategy in its pursuit of the elusive goal.

Givson tried his luck from 40 yards only to see his shot sail over the crossbar. Five minutes later, India finally got the breakthrough.

From a short corner, Givson found Ninthoi, and after a series of passes, Sumit was fed the ball on the top of the box. Getting the better of his marker, Sumit released a shot from close range to give India the lead.

The Vanuatu boys pushed for an equaliser but the Indian defence made sure it walked off the field on a winning note.

India will face New Caledonia in its next fixture on Wednesday. 

India XI vs Vanuatu: Prabhsukhan Gill (GK)(C); Thoiba Singh, Bikash Yumnam, Md. Rafi, Sumit Rathi; Jitendra Singh, Ricky Shabong (Manvir Singh 67'), Ninthoi, Vikram Partap, Givson Singh (Jeakson Singh 87'); Aman Chetri (Gurkirat Singh 54').
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