Indian team opened their campaign in the Under-14 SAARC Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Afghanistan at the Tokinosumika Sports Centre in Shizuka. Striker Krishna Pandit scored the goals in the first half. Pandit opened the scoring immediately after kick-off. The goal scored in the 30th second stays the fastest goal in the Tournament so far. Krishna followed Amey Ranawade's pass and chipped it over the rival goalkeeper.
The second goal came in the 5th minute off a set-piece movement. Ranawade made a run on right wing and his cross was directed into the net by Krishna. Changing over, Afghanistan went all out. But Jerry, Amit Tudu and Amey in the Indian defence stood tall. Afghanistan eventually managed to pull one back in the injury time. The match was played in two halves, each of 25 minutes duration.
Head Coach Sajid Dar, in a press release to AIFF said that it’s important to stick to the philosophy. “This is a good exposure for us and overall development stays the priority. We played in a 4-3-3 format and the boys stayed keen in keeping possession all throughout.”
Assistant coach, Goutam Ghosh lauded the boys for sticking to the basics. “This was the first time the boys played on an artificial turf and they adapted well. They implemented all has been taught in the training sessions.”
Besides India, eight more teams – Japan Football Association Academy 1, Japan Football association Academy 2, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal are taking part in the Tournament. India will be playing four matches in the Tournament.