Belarus scored all three of their goals in the second-half to beat India 3-0 in an international friendly in Manama, Bahrain, on Saturday. Goals from Bykau Artsem, Andrei Salav and Hramyka Varely made the difference between the two teams. This was India’s first international match against a UEFA side since they last played Azerbaijan in 2012.
The Indian team’s head coach Igor Stimac made seven changes to the starting line-up which played against Bahrain three days earlier. The Blue Tigers were also hit by injuries to Liston Colaco and Jeakson Singh, and in addition, Rahul Bheke was not available as he had flown back to join his club Mumbai City for their preparation for the forthcoming AFC Champions League matches.
Belarus had their first try in the 7th minute when they earned a free-kick outside the Indian 18-yard box. But even as Siadzko Pavel aimed at the bottom corner, goalkeeper and captain Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, playing his 50th international match stooped down to gather it with ease.
Four minutes later, Anirudh Thapa played an aerial throughball to Manvir Singh but the rival defence recovered faster not allowing striker to have a shy at the goal.
With India defending in numbers, Belarus did enjoy more of the possession but struggled in their search to find the gaps as the Blue Tigers maintained their shape, and tried to stay compact.
Changing over, Stimac made his first substitution as Yasir Mohammad came in place of Seriton Fernandes. In the very first minute Belarus made an inroad down the left - Uladzislau passed to Shauchenka Hleb but an agile Gurpreet was equal to the task.
Two minutes later, Belarus surged into the lead – a long ball from the midfield was followed up by Bykau Artsem as he volleyed it in.
In the 66th monute, Belarus doubled their lead. Roshan lost the ball in the midfield, and Ebonh Maks ran down the middle and set it up on the right for Andrei Salavi to tap it in.
Sandesh Jhingan came to India’s rescue in the 75th minute, intercepting in time, thus disallowing Salavi to pull the trigger. The veteran defender was in the thick of action, executing a couple more crucial tackles as the match entered the last half.
Stimac brought in his third substitution – Chinglensana Singh coming in place of Roshan.
In the 83rd minute, Akash Mishra passed it to Anirudh Thapa, who was quick to cross it into the box. But it stayed just beyond Manvir.
The final goal came at the in stoppage time – Yablonski Yauhen playing it behind the defence for Hramyka Varely to slot it past Sandhu.