India’s first goal at any Fifa World Cup didn’t come in the first match they played at the ongoing Under-17 World Cup as they went down to USA 0-3.
The wait for the maiden goal was extended further when a couple of clear shots went off-target in their second match against Colombia on Monday. For almost 80 minutes, India looked like they will leave with another clean sheet, despite a much more attacking game. That is until Jeakson Singh Thanoujam headed the historic goal in the 83rd minute of the match. Jeakson, the tallest player in the side, headed in a Sanjeev Stalin corner, sending the whole stadium into a state of delirium.
Staring at a 0-1 deficit, Jeakson neutralised Colombia’s lead in the dying moments of the match to give the 48,000-plus crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium something to cheer about. However, the lead was given back moments later when Juan Penaloza scored his second of the night with the match ending in a 1-2 defeat for the hosts.
From cloud nine...
For Jeakson, the delight of scoring was not equal to the disappointment of losing the match. “It was a nice experience and I felt on cloud nine when I scored the goal, however we tried our best but were unlucky,” he said after the match.
“It is obviously a great feeling to score for my country in a FIFA World Cup but it would have been sweeter had we won the match,” he added.
But the midfielder was also looking at the silver linings from the loss, saying that it will be an important learning curve for the team.
“We deserved a result, and we tried our very best to get it, but in the process we learnt a huge lesson what International Football is all about,” Jeakson was quoted as saying by the All India Football Federation.
Despite the final result, India football coach Luis Norton de Matos said he was proud of his side’s display. “We play on the same level as Colombia, six months ago that would have been a dream. They are a strong team from South America. Happy and tired. It was always possible to win the game. Have a feeling that we could have drawn. But all teams found it tough to play against us,” he said after the match.
India play their last group stage match against Ghana on Thursday.