India notched up one of its most memorable football triumphs when the country’s under-20 team stunned traditional giant Argentina 2-1 despite being reduced to 10 men in a pulsating contest at the COTIF Cup.
Deepak Tangri (4th minute) and Anwar Ali (68) were the stars for the Indian U-20 team last night as the Floyd Pinto-coached side scripted a historic result against the six-time U-20 World champion, coached by 2006 World Cupper Lionel Scaloni and former mid-field star Pablo Aimar.
It was a massive boost for Pinto’s side, which had lost 0-2 to Murcia before going down 3-0 to Mauritania.
It was held to a goalless draw by Venezuela in its previous match in the tournament.
“This victory will definitely earn India more respect in the world of football.
“It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the world on a regular basis,” Pinto said.
“It’s unbelievable! I am a very proud Indian today.
“We have renewed belief that with the right support and exposure we are capable of competing with the best teams in the world,” he added.
Tangri gave India the perfect start, heading the ball in off a corner taken by Ninthoiganba Meetei in the fourth minute.
Boosted by the early goal, India stepped up the attack and tried to create chances in the first half.
Suresh Singh Wangjam and Boris Singh Thangjam kept feeding Aniket Jadhav upfront, but twice he was adjudged off-side.
In the second half, Anwar Ali squandered an assist from captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam.
India was soon reduced to 10 men after Jadhav was shown the red card in the 54th minute for a foul.
With Argentina going on the attack trying to make inroads, India goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill pulled off a couple of brilliant saves in the 56th minute and another in the 61st minute.
India continued to look for another goal and a brilliantly struck free-kick by Anwar Ali in the 68th took India 2-0 up.
It was a foul on substitute Rahim Ali which resulted in the set-piece and Anwar’s shot hit the woodwork before nestling in the goal.
Four minutes later, Argentina pulled one back but the Indian colts held their nerve in the remaining minutes to create history on Spanish soil.
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