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AFC U-16 Championships: South Korea Break Spirited India's World Cup Dream

Jeong Sangbin's 67th minute strike was enough to take the South Korea home against India, the only other nation apart from themselves to have not conceded a goal in the group stages.

News18 Sports

Updated:October 1, 2018, 9:45 PM IST
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AFC U-16 Championships: South Korea Break Spirited India's World Cup Dream
Image: @IndianFootball
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A brave and spirited display was not enough as India went down 0-1 against South Korea in the quarter-finals of the AFC U-16 Championship at the Petaling Jaya Stadium here on Monday. The Indian colts matched their best performance ever in the tournament. In 2002, when India lost in the quarter-final, it was also against South Korea.

Jeong Sangbin's 67th minute strike was enough to take the South Korea home against India, the only other nation apart from themselves to have not conceded a goal in the group stages.

The opponents dominated possession from the start but confident defending with organization held them at bay for some time.

Compact and organised defending further frustrated the opponents, who had scored twelve goals in three games in the tournament before coming into this encounter.

The Indian side that made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in sixteen years had progressed out of the group stages as runners-up of Group C, with five points in three matches but even after giving South Korea a tough challenge and stretching them to the limit, could not emerge victors.

In the 14th minute, Niraj Kumar made an excellent save to deny South Korea from close range.

He then made two back-to-back saves in the 34th and 36th minutes to keep India in play as his dives saw the Korean shots from distance thwarted.

In the dying moments of the first half, Ravi Rana's shot from distance forced the Korean custodian to make a decent save as both teams went into the tunnel at level pegging as the half-time scoreline read 0-0.

After the break, India emerged with vigour and almost caught the Korean defense napping in the 52nd minute when Givson Singh’s volley forced a brilliant save from the opposition keeper after Vikram had found him just inches outside the box.

Two minutes later, South Korea almost gave India a scare when a free-kick attempt rattled the Indian bar and went out of play.

In the 64th minute, Niraj Kumar once more made a fantastic diving save to deny the Koreans from close range.

After 337 minutes without conceding a goal, the Indian defense’s resistance finally gave way in the 67th minute when Jeong Sangbin swept it home from close range after Niraj Kumar had palmed a venomous shot away.

Spurred to find the equalizer, the Indian colts initiated attacks of their own but the Korean defense line held firm.

Vikram Pratap proved to be a threat down the flanks but for all his possession around the box, could not create a clear goal scoring opportunity.
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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