India beat Turkmenistan 4-1, stay on course for final round
Muscat: India remained in contention for a berth in next year`s AFC Under-22 Asian Cup final round after spanking Turkmenistan 4-1 in their fourth league match on Saturday.
Lalrindika Ralte and Jeje Lalpekhlua scored from the penalties in the 36th and 86th minutes while Alwyn George and Romeo Fernandes also found the net in the 68th and 76th minutes at the Sultan Qaboos Stadium.
Italmazov Farhad pulled one back for Turkmenistan in the 59th minute.
India are now on seven points from four matches in Group A and next play hosts Oman on July 3.
Turkmenistan played to a defensive plan in the opening half and India had to wait till the 36th minute to break the deadlock.
Romeo Fernandes, India`s super-sub against United Arab Emirates, made justice of coach Arthur Papas fielding him in the starting XI. As he broke through with a sudden burst inside the penalty box, rival defender Komekov Hemayat found it best to bring him down.
Midfielder Lalrindika Ralte stepped up cooly to take the resultant penalty and slotted the ball past Turkmenistan goalkeeper Garayev.
Barely four minutes after Ralte`s penalty conversion, Alwyn George got past two Turkmenistan defenders but his prompt left-footer hit the post.
After the breather, Turkmenistan started off with more purpose and the first five minutes saw the Indians defending. Indian captain and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had to stretch back to palm away a deflection.
On the counter, a Romeo placement off a Vishak Kumar throw-in hit the upright in the 51st minute and then in the 55th minute, Manandeep Singh`s long-ranger sailed over.
Turkmenistan struck in the 59th minute as Italmazov Farhad`s prompt right-footer beating a diving Gurpreet.
But the Indians regrouped fast with Alwyn George, capitalising on a defensive lapse, chipped it over an onrushing Garayev.
Romeo got his name on the scoring sheet for the second consecutive match in the 76th minute. This time, Alwyn provided the perfect supply for him and Romeo made no mistake.
The second penalty came in the 85th minute when Jeje was pushed inside the box and he gleefully converted from the spot.
India: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (captain); Vishal Kumar, Deepak Devrani, Souvik Ghosh, Narayan Das, Ganeshan (Tirthankar Sarkar -- 63rd), Milan Singh, Lalrindika Ralte, Romeo Fernandes (Abhishek Das -- 82nd), Alwyn George, Manandeep Singh (Jeje Lalpekhlua -- 69th).