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New Delhi, Aug 28 (IBNS): India U23s staged a plucky display against three-time A-League champion and reigning A-League premiers champion Sydney FC who struck thrice to garner a hard-fought 3-0 win in a friendly match played at Macquarie University Sports Field in Sydney on Tuesday.
The star-studded Sydney FC had to wait till the 37th minute to open the scoring from Brosquey before Adam Le Fondre doubled the gap within 6 minutes. Indians were looking more threatening after the breather but a low strike from Trent Buhagiar in the 86th minute sealed the tie for the Sky Blues.
Coach Stephen Constantine rang as many as five changes to the starting eleven from the last match against APIA Tigers FC as Davinder Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Hitesh Sharma and Vinit Rai made way for Subhasish Bose, Salam Ranjan Singh, Nandha Kumar, Germanpreet Singh and Anirudh Thapa respectively.
As the coach predicted earlier, the hosts started dictating the game since the kick-off but their efforts were thwarted by the resilient Indian defence until the 37th minute when Brosquey headed a cross from Michael Zullo home.
Six minutes later, renowned English attacker, Adam Le Fondre found the back of the net from a close range to double the lead before the teams headed to the dressing room.
After the breather, Constantine tweaked in three changes in the form of Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vinit Rai and Manvir Singh withdrawing Nandha Kumar, Germanpreet Singh and Farukh Choudhary respectively.
After the hour-mark, Ashique Kuruniyan came very close to break the deadlock but his firing shot went off the target.
Indians started to push the A-League powerhouse further in their quest for the elusive goal but finally, Trent Buhagiar poached another goal four minutes to the end of the regulation time to confirm a win for the Sky Blues during their pre-season.
Constantine felt they wanted a 'tough game' and this one was nothing less than a ‘very good lesson’ for the team.
"We knew very well that it was going to be a tough test against a terrific team and certainly, it was. Our boys were a little surprised with their speed and constant movement but overall, it was a very good lesson for us", he added further, "We got better as the game progressed and created a few opportunities as well. Overall, we wanted a tough game and we were presented with one. Now, we know more about ourselves as a team and of course, as individuals."
India are scheduled to play their third game Down Under against Rydalmere Lions FC on August 31, 2018. Kick-off is at 12:30 PM IST.
INDIA: Vishal Kaith (GK), Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sajid Dhot (Jerry Lalrinzuala 57'), Nandha Kumar (Lallianzuala Chhangte 46'), Germanpreet Singh (Vinit Rai 46'), Anirudh Thapa (Hitesh Sharma 80'), Ashique Kuruniyan, Sumeet Passi (C), Farukh Choudhary (Manvir Singh 46').