New Delhi: India went down fighting 3-0 to USA in their first group stage match at the 2017 Under-17 Fifa World Cup as goals from Josh Sargent, Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton were enough to give the visitors a comfortable victory.
The US started the game in dominant fashion as they attacked mostly from the left-flank as Tim Weah got onto the end of several balls from his midfielders but was unable to put in a good final ball.
Dheeraj was called into action as early as the fourth minute as he brushed away a shot by the highly-regarded Josh Sargent.
After a frantic opening 20 minutes, the pace seemed to have slowed down a tad. India though, kept giving the ball away which didn’t help their cause. There were plenty of long balls and passes through the middle, but no visible end product.
After defending staunchly for the first 30 minutes though, India were undone when Jitendra Singh’s lunge on Sargent in the box was penalised as the referee blew for a spot-kick.
Sargent went right of the goal as Dheeraj dived left, as India were down a goal at the end of half an hour.
The crowd was suddenly alive, and so was Komal Thatal. The blond Sikkimese looked like India’s best bet for a breakthrough and both Suresh and Amarjit realise that as they tried to feed him. However, the first half passed by without much incident as it ended 1-0 to the visitors.
As Dheeraj saved another low shot from Andrew Carleton early in the second half, India conceded another one. As a corner was swung in, Chris Durkin took a shot which saw a wicked deflection off Anwar Ali, before fizzing past the Indian no 1.
Komal Thatal almost etched his name into Indian football history but his chip just went above the US goal, narrowly missing the chance to get India’s first-ever World Cup goal. Sargent then put Ayo Akimola through, but the forward went for the Hollywod finish, shooting it above the bar.
It was a cruel third for India and Dheeraj to concede as Thatal’s low corner made it’s way to Anwar Ali, whose shot hit the crossbar and then the US countered as substitute George Acosta put Carleton through. The number 11 rounded Dheeraj to seal the deal for John Hackworth’s boys as the match ended 3-0 to the US.