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Surprise: India U-20 football team beats the traditional giants Argentina

Surprise: India U-20 football team beats the traditional giants Argentina
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The countrys under20 team surprised traditional giants Argentina 21 despite being reduced to 10 men in a pulsating contest at the COTIF CupIndia...

The country’s under-20 team surprised traditional giants Argentina 2-1 despite being reduced to 10 men in a pulsating contest at the COTIF Cup.India notched up one of its most memorable football triumphs.

Deepak Tangri (4th minute) and Anwar Ali (68’) were the stars for the Indian U-20 team last night as the Floyd Pinto-coached side scripted a historic result against the six-time U-20 world champions, coached by 2006 World Copper Lionel Scaloni and former mid-field star Pablo Aimar.

It was a massive start for Pinto’s side, which had lost 0-2 to Murcia before going down 0-3 to Mauritania. They were held to a goalless draw by Venezuela in their previous match in the tournament.

“This victory will definitely earn Indian football more respect in the world of football. It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the world on a regular basis,it’s unbelievable! I am a very proud Indian today. This win is a testament to the efforts and belief of the All India Football Federation in moving forward towards developing the youth of the country. We have a renewed belief that with the right support and exposure we are capable to compete with the best teams in the world,” Pinto said after the match.

India were soon reduced to 10 men after forward Jadhav was shown the red card in the 54th minute for a bad foul. With Argentina trying to make inroads, India goalkeeper Prabh Sekhon Gill pulled off a couple of brilliant saves in the 56th minute and another with his fingertips in the 61st minute.

India continued to look for another goal and a brilliantly struck free-kick taken by Anwar Ali in the 68th gave the Asian side a 2-0 lead.

“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,” the India coach said.

Interestingly, this win comes weeks after national coach Stephen Constantine criticised the Indian team’s performance at the U-17 World Cup, labelling it as mediocre and the hype surrounding it to be unjustified. The Indian team was also not allowed to participate in the Asian Games after being denied clearance by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

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