India’s campaign in the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers got off to a terrible start after they were crushed 0-5 by Saudi Arabia in the opening Group D encounter, PTI reported.
Indian custodian Dheeraj Singh was called into action as early as the 9th minute when he thwarted a Saudi attack from the flanks. A minute later, the hosts could have taken the lead but Abdullah Alhamaddan failed to find the net after rounding up Dheeraj.
In the 15th minute, the visitors gifted the lead to Saudi Arabia after Anwar Ali’s pass fell to Abdullah Alhamaddan, who slotted the ball into the net.
Ashis Rai had India’s best chance to find an equaliser following his one-two with Rahul KP but his feeble shot was unable to trouble the Saudi custodian in the 26th minute.
India managed to restrict the host to just a goal till half time before Feras Albrikan opened the floodgates in the 50th minute.
Saudi Arabia added another goal in the 75th through Al-Shahrani and Al Brikan then scored a brace (81st and 86th) minute to complete the scoreline.
India will now face Yemen on November 6 and Turkmenistan on November 8.