COTIF Cup 2018 – Match Highlights:
- India won 2-1
- India were reduced to ten men after Jadhav was sent off
- This was India’s first win of the tournament
- Argentina will take on Uruguay in the semi-final
The U20 Indian football team pulled of the biggest victory in their history after they beat tournament favourites and giants Argentina. Taking on the South American nation in their final match of the COTIF Cup 2018 in Valencia, India pulled off a massive upset by stunning their opponents 2-1. The importance of the victory is enormous in terms of Indian football going forward as it proves that the young guns of the country have it in them to take the country to great heights in the future.
For India their match against Argentina was much more than just ending the campaign. After disastrous results in their previous three games which had seen them lose 0-2 to Murcia, 0-3 to Mauritania and draw 0-0 with Venezuela, India desperately needed to put on a brave performance against Argentina. And it was easier said than done for a side that had played so poorly all tournament. Especially against an Argentinean side that were already through to the semi-finals after decimating everyone in their path.
However there is no stopping grit and determination. And India had ample of that on the day. Despite a huge gulf in talent and skill, the Indians started the match bravely; attacking from the right go to find themselves ahead in the fourth minute after Tangri headed the ball in off an Indian corner. Buoyed by that opener, the Indians increased their attacking efforts multifold. They played an eye-catching and fluent style of football to which Argentina had no answers.
The Indians were setback in the quest for their first victory after forward Jadhav was shown a direct card in the 54th minute for a bad challenge. Surprisingly and refreshingly enough they continued to press on for the second and were soon rewarded for their efforts in the 68th minute with Anwar Ali giving them a 2-0 lead. Rahim Ali did get one back for the Argentineans but it was too little too late for them as India hung on to win 2-1.
“The one thing missing from our continued development through this tournament were goals. I am really happy the boys adapted so quickly and effectively to the changes we made post our first gamer. I just couldn’t have asked for a better reaction,” Floyd Pinto, the India coach said.