India go down to Pakistan in SAFF U-16 final

Kathmandu: India`s under-16 football team stumbled at the final hurdle as it went down to Pakistan 2-1 in the title clash of the SAFF under-16 Championship.

In an enthralling encounter at the Dashrath Stadium, Mohammed Zaseen put Pakistan ahead when he found the back of the net in the 25th minute.

Not ready to throw in the towel, India drew level through Daniel Lalhlimpuia`s strike at the stroke of half-time.

Pakistan took the lead again when Mohammed Mansoor scored early in the second half, a strike which eventually decided the fate of the match.

Earlier, India`s defence was slow to react as a Zaseen cross from the left flank was too good for custodian Supratim Bhattacharya as it dipped into the far post.

Lalhlimpuia restored parity scoring off a goal-mouth melee as both teams went to the breather with the scoreline reading 1-1.

But India were in for a shock as Mansoor sealed the deal for Pakistan off a corner four minutes from the change of ends.

From there on, India desperately looked for an equaliser, but Pakistan`s defence stood tall.

"We could have done much better. Pakistan on the other hand played well and stuck to their task. We are certainly going home with lots of positives and these guys have played extremely well throughout the tournament," said India coach Thomas Joseph.


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