India edge past Real Massama 1-0

Lisbon: Mohammad Rafi`s first-half strike saved India the blushes as they eked out a narrow 1-0 win over Portuguese football club Real Massama in their second practice match.

Almost all the players who played in Wednesday`s drawn encounter against Casa Pia AC were rested and yesterday`s playing XI included Arindam Bhattacharya in the goal and Deepak Mondal, Mahesh Gawli, NS Manju and N Mohanraj in the defence.

James Singh, Baldeep Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadao and Clifford Miranda were the four mid-fielders, while Abhishek Yadav and Rafi paired up front once again.

Rafi, who has been in fine form in all the practice matches, once again paved the way for the winning goal providing a perfect start to India`s proceedings.

Abhishek Yadav essayed a pass to Rafi, which was neatly finished by the Churchill Brothers striker in the seventh minute.

India tried hard to extend their lead but had to go for the breather with a precarious 1-0 lead.

After the lemon break, four substitutions were made and Rafi and Abhishek Yadav were replaced by Baljit Sahni and Sushil Kumar Singh.

Govin Singh replaced Clifford Miranda, which saw Manju shifting on the left flank as lift wing half. Baldeep Singh made way for Rakesh Masih in the midfield.

After an engrossing second half, India held on to their one-goal advantage and come out victorious narrowly.

The Indians are here as part of their preparatory plans for next year`s Asian Cup.


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