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India Hold Iraq at Asian U-16 Qualifiers

India held defending champions Iraq to a goalless draw in a Group D encounter of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers at the Halchowk Stadium.

IANS

Updated:September 24, 2017, 5:12 PM IST
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India Hold Iraq at Asian U-16 Qualifiers
India U-16 Team. (Image: AIFF)
Kathmandu: India held defending champions Iraq to a goalless draw in a Group D encounter of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers at the Halchowk Stadium on Sunday.

The draw means, India maintains their unbeaten run and finished their group engagements with five points from three matches. The Indian boys started their campaign with a 3-0 win over Palestine before being held to a 2-2 draw by Nepal.

They will now have to wait for engagements in other groups to finish across other venues all over Asia to find out whether they have made it to the AFC U-16 Finals by virtue of being the best second-placed team across 10 groups.

Knowing that only a victory will hand them a ticket to the AFC U-16 Finals, India started on a positive note. They should have taken the lead in as early as the sixth minute itself but the swift Bekey Oram, despite sneaking in from the flanks, could not get the power behind his shot and the Iraqi goalkeeper managed to save it.

In the 42nd minute, Vikram Pratap made another robust move but Ricky Shabong shot straight to the rival goalkeeper as both teams ended the first half without managing to break the deadlock.

Following the restart, Bekey got perhaps the easiest chance of the match when on the hour mark, he had the Iraqi goalkeeper at his mercy from inside the six-yard box. But he squandered the chance.

Two minutes later, Ravi flashed another cross from the left flank but it went out harmlessly.

India U-16 coach Bibiano Fernandes introduced a fresh pair of legs of Harpreet in the 76th minute. Six minutes later Harpreet barged into the Iraqi penalty box with a solo effort. But the Iraqi goalkeeper stood firm.

India went all out in the final minutes, but Iraq were more content to stabilise their defence as they increased numbers at the back. The Indian colts tried hard but Iraq managed to hold on.

Iraq who finished at the top of the group with seven points from three matches, have already booked a ticket to the AFC U-16 Finals slated to be held next year.

The defending champions are also unbeaten in Group D, having beaten bottom-placed Palestine and hosts Nepal in their previous matches.
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