Abu Dhabi: India went down fighting against South Korea 1-3 to crash out of the 10th AFC under-17 football championship in a quarter final match on Monday.
The Indian colts put up a spirited fight and gave the Koreans a run for their money before succumbing to the mounting rival onslaught. Substitute Choi Seok (2) and Shin Young struck for the Koreans while Jerry Zirsanga scored the solitary goal for India.
The two teams were locked goalless in the first half as the two outfits started on a cautious note. India’s star performer Malsawma was down with fever and was off-colour in the match.
After the change of sides, Koreans were more adventurous in their attacks while the Indians retreated to their defensive zone. They depended on some individual efforts to open gaps on counter-movement but the rival rearguard was equal to the task.
The Indians committed a series of costly mistakes in covering, marking and clearing, as Korea kept up their momentum of attacks. Once Young opened the floodgates, there was no looking back for Korea.
It was the Korean substitutes — Lee Yong and Seok — who made the difference in the scoreline. Only four minutes after they were brought onto the field, Lee sent a corner kick to Young, who headed home the first goal.
Lee Hun went into the right flank, 16 minutes after the interval, and crossed for Seok who was alone inside the Indian penalty box as he coolly drove home the second goal.
Ten minutes later, Seok added another goal that forced the large number of Indian supporters to start leaving Al Nahyan Stadium.
Zirsanga scored a consolation goal for India eight minutes before the final whistle.
In another match, China beat Qatar by a similar 3-1 margin to enter the semi-finals.