New Delhi: The Indian U-14 team was held to a 1-1 draw by Japan Football Association Academy One side in the U-14 SAARC Tournament being held in Shizuka, Japan.
The Indian team, comprising of All India Football Federation Regional Academy boys, surged into the lead as early as in the sixth minute.
The goal came after Aaron's free-kick hit the post and striker Krishna Thapa headed it in on the rebound. The Indian colts kept up the pressure and attacked relentlessly, a bit more down the left flank.
But the JFA Academy Team defended well and restored parity just before the interval.
The second-half was keenly contested and some Indian counter-attacks drew appreciation.
"To force the Japan Football Academy Youth Team to split points with us is a huge achievement," India's head coach Sajid Dar said.
Assistant Coach Gautam Ghosh echoed Sajid's assessment.
"One needs to remember Japan boasts of one of the best Youth Development System in the World. Our boys were never overawed by the situation and played all over the field," Ghosh stated.
In an earlier match, the Indian colts blanked Bhutan 9-0.
Krishna Thapa scored a hat-trick while Bodo, Vineet and Haasil scored a brace each.