India U-17 Team couldn’t garner a positive result in its last match of the round-robin stage against Latvia to advance to the quarterfinal of the Granatkin Memorial Tournament in Russia.
Latvia netted 3 goals before the changeover, having almost secured a victory tonight. Albeit Sanjeev Stalin blasted the back of the net from a free-kick in the second half, Latvia nailed another goal in the 82nd minute to secure the victory tonight.
Latvia earned a corner in the first minute itself but the resilient Indian defenders went away with it. In the 17th minute, Latvia drew the first blood from 25-yards out. One minute later, before the Indian team could settle in, Latvia doubled the lead from a curling corner.
Seven minutes to the break, Latvia found the back of the net once again following a scintillating 1-2 between the attackers. After the halftime, Nicolai Adam introduced Shubham Sarangi at the expense of Aniket Jadhav to inject more vigour in the attacking third.
Just at the stroke of the 50-minute mark, Sanjeev Stalin showed his calibre on the dead-ball situation once again, having rattled the net from 20-yards out to put some life in the match. Next came the moment of brilliance for Tamal Naskar who threw himself to deter a cannon shot by a Latvian player.
After the 75th minute, Boris Singh’s rash challenge on an onrushing attacker invited a penalty for the European outfit and the shooter didn’t hesitate to nail Latvia’s fourth goal, having almost secured the victory for his team tonight.
Nicolai Adam put in Sarif and Joysana in the places of Rakip and Ninthoi to outsmart the opponents in the later stage of the match, but it saw off the danger calmly to book a berth in the last eight.
India is now scheduled to play three playoff matches to determine its final position (9th to 16th) in the Granatkin Memorial Tournament.
Indian Starting XI: Tamal (GK), Boris, Jitendra, Sanjeev, Rakip (Sarif 81′), Suresh (C), Ninthoi (Joysana 82′), Amarjit, Aniket (Shubham 49′), Abhijit, Komal.