AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers: India loses 0-5 to Saudi Arabia

Al Brikan scored a brace in Saudi Arabia's 5-0 thrashing of India in the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers.

The India U-19 starting eleven against Saudi Arabia U-19 in the AFC U-19 Championship qualifier.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Indian U-19 team lost 0-5 to host Saudi Arabia in the opening match of Group D of the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers at the Prince Mohammad bin Fahad Stadium in Dammam on Saturday.

The Indian colts were slow off the blocks as Saudi Arabia tried to take an early advantage, pressurizing the Indian midfield to commit mistakes. Dheeraj Singh was called into action as early as the ninth minute when he thwarted a Saudi attack from the flanks. A minute later, the host could have taken the lead but Abdullah Alhamaddan failed to net the ball.

In the 15th minute, India gifted the lead to Saudi Arabia after Anwar Ali’s pass fell to Abdullah Alhamaddan, who slotted the ball into the net. Pursuing an equalizer, the Indian colts started to look for counter attacks but were held at bay by a stern Saudi defence.

The host kept the pressure on India as the half-time scoreline read 1-0.

In the 50th minute, Saudi Arabia doubled its lead when Feras Albrikan put the ball past an onrushing Dheeraj . The Indian U-19s pressed to minimize the deficit but could only make it past the Saudi midfield.

Coach Matos then introduced Edmund and Amarjit Singh.

Saudi Arabia added another goal in the 75th minute when Al-Shahrani blasted the ball into the net, capitalizing a scuffle inside the Indian box. Al Brikan then scored in the 81st and the 86th minutes to make it 5-0. 

The Indian U-19s face Yemen next on Monday before clashing with Turkmenistan on Wednesday.

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