India U-17 Men’s National Team put on a thrilling performance to defeat Qatar U-17 in the second of two friendly matches at the Aspire Academy in Doha on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023. The win saw India step closer to the AFC U-17 Asian Cup final rounds that are scheduled for later this year. Setbacks could not dent the Indians’ morale as they made a strong start with their first goal coming as early as the 10th minute. Qatar goalkeeper Zeiad Shoaib handled a backpass inside his own area post which defender Ricky Meetei Haobam hit the back of the net off an indirect free kick. The victory stands testimony to India’s ability and determination ahead of their clash in the Asian Cup tournament later this year.
The blue Colts did everything right to ensure India went 2-0 up in the match. Danny Laishram’s free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box close to doubling the advantage may have whistled wide of goal, but India capitalised on their next set piece opportunity. Gurnaj Singh Grewal’s cross was smartly met by Korou Singh Thingujam and although Shoaib made a brave effort to keep out his shot, it was Shashwat Panwar who pounced on the rebound and emphatically added India’s second goal of the game. This was Panwar’s second goal in two matches for his country and a solid indicator India will not be easing off any time soon.
India’s second-half performance lacked goalscoring opportunities, however they did have chances to further extend their lead. Danny and Panwar both saw their efforts collected by the keeper or narrowly veer wide respectively. In order to preserve his clean sheet, India’s keeper Sahil had to be agile in the 71st minute with his only save of the match. To wrap up victory, Fernandes sought the impact of substitutions in the closing stages, introducing Thokchom, Guite, Chungkham and Lalpekhlua into the fray. The win was sealed in injury time when Guite found Korou on a through ball who went on to convert it one-on-one with the goalkeeper.