India played out a 1-1 draw against Vietnam in their campaign opener in the AFC U-17 Asian Cup at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand. India begin the match on a strong note as they kept Vietnam restricted in their own half for the first half an hour but were unable to draw the first blood and instead ended up conceding a goal on the counter. However, India managed to find the equaliser in the second half thanks to a screamer from Malemngamba Singh.
Speaking on the match in the post-match conference, head coach Bibiano Fernandes told he was happy with the result despite the fact that the team could have taken their chances in the game after equalising and could have taken all three points.
“The game in the first half was good and we had most of the ball but could not penetrate to the defence line. Vietnam defended well, we conceded a goal on the counter. In the second half, it was a 50-50 game. Vietnam defended well, created chances and we too created chances. The game could have gone either way, but, 1-1 is not a bad result looking at the game and we move onto the next one.”
He further went on to defend his boys, saying that the game was good enough. Although the fans expected the team to win this tie, given their performances against quality sides in Europe, Bibiano stated that this was their first competitive game and was very different from the training matches they played during the preparatory camp, “I’m happy with the boys. I know it’s the first game and competitive matches are different from the training matches that we played. I’m happy. They were trying and I’m sure they will be much better in the second game.”
Earlier, Japan and Uzbekistan, who are also part of group D, as are India and Vietnam, played out a 1-1 draw as well. Talking about this result, as well as their next fixture against Uzbekistan, Bibiano said this is good for all the concerned sides, “It was a good result for all the four teams. We will go back and think about it (match against Uzbekistan). We have played Uzbekistan. They are a good side and in every youth tournaments they have a very good side. We will look into their game against Japan and come up with a plan.”
“We have been playing high-level matches in the training and we have scored some good goals and I think it’s just the first game in the competition and I’m sure in the second game they will be more confident, more relaxed and will display their talent and try to win the game”, he further added before signing off.
India are set to face Uzbekistan in their next fixture on 20th June at 3:30 PM IST at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
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