India lose 1-2 against Kuwait, fail to qualify AFC U-16 C`ship

Updated: Sep 30, 2013, 15:33 PM IST

Kuwait City: India fought valiantly before going down 1-2 to Kuwait in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers here and thus missed the bus for the final round by a whisker.

A win or a draw would have seen the Indian boys through to the final round of the AFC U-16 Championship in Thailand next year but the defeat in their last Group A match to a superior home side last night dashed their hopes.

India and Tajikistan finished on seven points each behind Kuwait (12) but the Central Asian side made it to the final round on the basis of a better goal difference. Tajikistan have a goal difference of 16 as against nine of India. Both sides played out a 1-1 draw in their group match.

The winners of the 10 different groups along with five best runners-up team in the qualifiers join host Thailand for the next year`s continental showpiece.

But the Indian boys would leave the tournament with their heads held high after a fine performance against Kuwait at the Al-Sabah stadium.

The visiting Indians were the more dominant side for most part of the match, especially the second half, despite their physical disadvantage.

India found themselves a goal down as early as the ninth minute when Khaled Alenezi took advantage of a long ball and scored past Dheeraj Singh in the Indian goal.

The home side doubled their lead through Salem Albariki`s penalty in the first-half stoppage time goal, which was given due to a Dheeraj Singh infringement on Alenezi and India were down 0-2 at the breather.

India pulled one back in the 66th minute after substitute Krishna Pundit slotted the ball past Kuwaiti goalkeeper Omar Mohammed.