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Sunil goal not enough for India to see off tie

Sunil goal not enough for India to see off tie

India Blooms News Service | | 04 Aug 2014, 12:12 am
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IBNS): India lost 3-1 to third division Czech side TJ Domazlice in their final practice match at the Domazlice Stadium in Czech Republic on Sunday.

Goals either side of the half from striker Hrdlicka, and defenders Bauer and Tuma helped the Czech outfit script a convincing win over the visitors.

Birthday boy Sunil Chhetri came off the bench to pull one back in the dying minutes of the match to take his tally to three goals in as many matches, scoring a brace in the previous match against FK Manik Most.

India wasted three good chances to get the game on track in the final minutes of the match with substitutes Francis Fernandes, Clifton Dias and Robin Singh all spurning gilt edged chances in three back-to-back minutes.

A penalty claim was also turned down in added time when Tuma clambered all over Sunil’s back to bring him down.

To start off, National Coach Wim Koevermans made as many as nine changes from the last match with only right winger Mandar Rao Desai and left back Narayan Das keeping their places.

The match started at a good pace with both sides on the offensive from the off. But the hosts looked the more convincing of the two in the opening exchanges.  It took them just six minutes to get their noses in front when a mistake by centre back Salam Ranjan Singh who misjudged a clearance was punished by a lurking No 9 Hrdlicka.

India had a great chance to draw level moments later but a late Alwyn George failed to connect on a good looking through pass from Haokip Thongkoshim.

India toiled hard from then on with midfielders Milan Singh and Dhanpal Ganesh spraying passes across the sunbathed Domizlice Stadium.

Milan chanced his luck with a well struck 30 yard long ranger that went just wide of target.

Defender Bauer made it 2-0, once again asserting the hosts’ dominance over the visitors in the first period. The tall stopper back leapt highest to head home from a corner.

India went into the break 2-0 down.

Koevermans made as many as six changes prior to the restart. Sandesh Jhinghan came on for Salam, Keenan made way for Pritam Kotal, Dika was brought in for Ganesh, Milan made way for Pronay Halder, Francis replaced Seminlen Doungel and birthday boy Sunil Chhetri came in for Haokip.

India looked much better in the second half seeing more of the ball and also creating better looking opportunities with rather alarming frequency for their counterparts. Koevermans brought in Robin to negate the height difference up front but it was not going to be that easy with the average height of the team above six feet.

The Bohemian League residents chalked up their third and again from a flag kick.

Failing to defend another set piece, the new look India back line were made to rue their naivety as stopper back Tuma joined his defensive partner in the goalscoring charts with a similar nod at the far post.

Down by three goals, India showed great verve and character to not let their shoulders droop and flooded the rival citadel with a flurry of attacks late on. Three clear cut chances went begging as Francis, Clifton and Robin missed.

But as it happens more often than not, it was regular captain Sunil Chhetri who lifted the gloom a little bit by neatly tapping in a rebound after substitute Lalrindika Ralte took a good corner with the clock showing two minutes to full time.

INDIA U-23: Ravi Kumar, Narayan Das, Salam Ranjan Singh (Sandesh Jhinghan – 45th), Shankar Sampingiraj, Keenan Almeida (Pritam Kotal – 45th), Milan Singh (Pronay Halder – 45th), Dhanpal Ganesh (Lalrindika Ralte – 45th), Mandar Rao Desai (Clifton Dias – 65th), Alwyn George (Sunil Chhetri – 45th), Semilen Doungel (Francis Fernanades – 45th), Haokip Thongkoshim (Robin Singh – 60th)