AFC U-16: India bows out with Iran defeat

Host India bowed out of the AFC U-16 Championship, going down 3-0 to Iran in the final game of the group stage.

India and Iran in action in a Group A game at the AFC U-16 Championships.   -  AIFF Media

Ten-man India lost 0-3 to a superior Iran side to bow out of the AFC U-16 Championship 2016 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Wednesday.

Courtesy the result, India finished on one point from three outings while Iran topped Group A with seven points from three matches to march into the quarterfinals.

Coach Nicolai Adam made two changes to the starting XI – Lalengmawia and Ninthoi replacing Aniket Jhadav and Aman Chetri respectively. But missed passes in the midfield and bad control, along with the physically superior Iranians managing to win most of the second balls, did not help India's cause.

Even as both teams started on a cautious note, Iran was able to increase manpower in the final third. The first goal came in the 23rd minute - a slippery Mohammad Ghaderi sneaking in between the two central defenders to blast it in after being fed by Amed Khodamoradi.

India’s sole chance in the first half came in the 17th minute. The rush of adrenalin forced Komal to go for glory after he had sped into the rival box. A back pass to Lalangmawia who was perfectly positioned to tap it in into a yawning goal could have given India the lead.

Changing over, Adam made his first substitution – Aniket coming in for Mohamad Rakip in the 46th minute itself. The first cross into the box came in the 49th minute but rival goalkeeper Gholam Zadeh leapt above all to gather Ninthoi’s floater.

India suffered a jolt when it went down to 10 men - Boris given his marching orders after receiving his second yellow card in the 55th minute.

Ten minutes later Lalengmawia was replaced by Aman, as India went all out for the equaliser. The third substitution came in the 69th minute when Narender was put in place of Sarif Khan.

Iran, taking full advantage of its numerical superiority, was dominating by then and the scoreline could have been wider had goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh not made some vital saves.

A ten-man India, nevertheless, laboured hard. But as it was in the first half, and even in the entire tournament, missed passes spoilt the counter-attacks. Iran looked composed with the support for each other in the midfield.

Iran scored from two penalties – Mohammad Sharifi converting both from the spot in the 82nd minute and another in injury time.