10-man India go down fighting to Uzbekistan in AFC Qualifiers
Tehran: A 10-man Indian football team put up a brave fight before succumbing to its second defeat in the AFC U-19 Qualifier, losing 1-2 to formidable Uzbekistan on Friday.
Vladimir Kozak (32nd and 87th minute) scored both the goals for the Uzbeks, while Pronoy Halder (60th) reduced the margin for India.
Today`s defeat against Uzbekistan means India will now have to beat arch-rivals Pakistan by a big margin in their last match on November 8 if they desire to book a ticket to next year`s AFC U19 Championship here.
The Indian colts have earlier defeated Turkmenistan 3-1 in their opening match, before losing to host Iran by a 3-0 margin in the next.
Uzbekistan, meanwhile, have brighten their chances of making it to the final phase with this win as they six points from two matches, while India stay on three points from three matches with one game still to go.
Against Uzbekistan, which have six players from the last U-17 World Cup squad in Mexico, India started on a bright note and denied their fancied rivals till the 32nd minute.
The Indians were also unlucky on at least one occasion when Sumit Passi`s lob over an onrushing Uzbek goalkeeper Amanok Asilbek in the 11th minute hit the upright.
However, a tireless Halder headed home in 60th minute to score the equaliser for India.
But just when it seemed, India would manage to salvage a crucial point from the match, Brandon Fernandes was given the marching orders in the 73rd minute for his second yellow card of the day.
Eventually, Fernandes` sent off proved decisive as Kozak scored the all-important winner for Uzbekistan just three minutes from the whistle.