Indian football team finishes second in AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers

Fujairah (UAE), Oct 31 (PTI) Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh’s scintillating performance helped India beat Kyrgyzstan 4-2 in a penalty shootout to finish second in Group E’s AFC U-23 Asian Football Qualifier. Best performance.

The match was tied goalless after regular time.

After the match ended in a draw, both teams had four points in the group and the goal difference was also equal (nil). Both the teams scored the same two goals in all the matches.

A penalty shootout was used to decide the team that finished second and third respectively in Group E, which India won 4-2.

Earlier, UAE beat Oman 2-0 and finished on top of Group E.

The top team from each group and the second-placed best four teams from all groups will qualify for next year’s prestigious continental competition.

Whether India will qualify for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup for the first time will now have to wait for the other group matches to get over.

In the penalty shootout, Dheeraj blocked two shots of the players of the opposing team while Rahul KP, Rohit Danu, Suresh Singh and Rahim Ali scored for India.

Earlier, at the start of the match, India made the first move in the fifth minute but Apuia’s long-range shot could not put the Kyrgyz defense in trouble. Two minutes later, Rahul made a move from the left end. Rahul overtook Kumarbai Ulu but Adelet Kanibekov averted the crisis.

Three minutes later, Narender thwarted an attempt by Kyrgyz forward Aligulov Maksat and then thwarted a move by Taapev Temir Bolot.

Vikram’s effort went off target in the 21st minute while Amarjeet failed to score four minutes later.

Both the teams failed to score before half time.

Kyrgyzstan started fast in the second half. Maqsat had a chance to give the team the lead but his shot was off goal.

India demanded a penalty for handball at the end of one hour, but Maldivian referee Mohamed Javiz did not pay heed to the demand.

India got the best chance after seven minutes. Deepak Tangri made a bicycle kick near Goalmukh but his attempt was thwarted by alert goalkeeper Tokotiev Irzhan.

Both the teams made several moves after this but did not succeed in scoring the goal.


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