India bowed out of the Asian Football Confederation Under-16 championships after a lively Iran ran out 3-0 winners on Wednesday and booked their spot in the quarter-finals. The Iranians, who had 66% of possession, were calm and got the breakthrough early in the first half through Mohammad Ghaderi.
India were down to 10-men in the second half when Boris Singh was given his marching orders for a vicious foul on Reza Jalali. The clincher for Iran came 10 minutes from time through skipper Mohammad Sharifi from the penalty spot, and he would repeat the feat in stoppage time too.
The height of the Iranian players and their superior technical skills gave them a comfortable advantage over their opponents, be it vying for the ball in 50-50 challenges or playing the final pass. Looking dangerous with the ball, the deadlock was broken through a move started by Ghaderi just outside the box. The Iranian midfielder slipped past the Indian defense and struck a neat low shot past goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh to hand his side a 1-0 lead.
On the counter-attack, Indians did threaten and could have had an equaliser from a left-wing cross that eluded the forwards. Skipper Suresh Singh Wangjam battled hard and covered plenty of ground, but he had too much to do against a well drilled side. Ten minutes from time, Indian defender Narender put in a tired challenge to give away a penalty. Striker Allahyar Sayyad won another spot-kick in stoppage time. Sharifi's penalties gave Dheeraj Singh no chance as on both occasions, the ball hit the roof of the net, finding the flanks of the net.